At the start of every new season, MLS stresses some areas of emphasis for its referees.
I asked Sounders coach Sigi Schmid what will be stressed this season.
"They always have some of that and to be honest with you I just let it go in one ear and out the other to an extent," he said. "Obviously they’re going to be tight about making sure that guys are overly aggressive. They’re going to be a little stronger about reviewing plays after the fact. I think they’re going to be a little tougher on guys on simulation, even when they review that after that fact – I think that’s good. Guys who commit bad tackles off the ball, so I think that’s going to be important.
"Hopefully, the new refereeing group that they’ve formed: That’s something I think will be good. It’s a combined effort, and I think it’s something where the real payout is going to be in two-three-four years, and the question is how can you fast-track guys into refereeing and get them there a little bit quicker to the top level, guys that are capable of doing it at the top level."
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The topic of refereeing also came up in the question-and-answer session of today's Sounders preseason luncheon at CenturyLink Field. General manager Adrian Hanauer admitted that officials make mistakes and that officiating can be better. But he also said there is an element of perception to it as well, noting that everyone from Sir Alex Ferguson to soccer parents complain about referees.