Jesse Marsch will have to sit out Wednesday night’s Open Cup match vs. NYCFC. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
Given what transpired during and after the third and final confrontation of last year’s Hudson River Derby, there has been a lot of speculation whether the coaches — the Red Bulls’ Jesse Marsch and New York City FC’s Patrick Vieira — will shake hands or be amicable before and/or Wednesday’s Lamar Hunt/Open Cup match.
That isn’t expected to happen because Marsch will have to serve a one-game suspension, according to tournament rules, because he was ejected late in a 2-1 fifth-round loss to the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium last June 29.
On his way to the locker room, Marsch picked up a couple of soccer balls on the sidelines and took them with him. He reportedly spiked them near the Philly bench.
“I had to try and induce change with the referee somehow because he was basically calling every foul for the Union,” Marsch said at the time. “So laughable.”
Red Bulls assistant coach Chris Armas is expected to direct the Red Bulls in the fourth-round clash at Red Bull Arena at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
We’ll probably have to wait until June 24 at RBA to see how the two coaches react.
Marsch and Vieira were involved in a controversial situation at last year’s 4-1 Red Bulls’ win at RBA last July 29.
In the first real feud of the Hudson River Derby, Vieira claimed that Marsch’s comments set up referee Mark Geiger to call the third and final match of the Hudson River Derby in the hosts’ favor at Red Bull Arena.
Earlier that week, Marsch told reporters that he felt his team hadn’t fared well with game officials this season.
“The frustration that we have with the referees, the way we feel we don’t get the benefit of the doubt,” he said last July, adding that his team has received only “one penalty call all year. That frustration continues to mount; the frustration we have on the referees.
“We have an honest team … that gets punished for calls, plays and penalties across the board and we hardly ever get rewarded.
“Hoping that we get a ref who understands how to ref the game this weekend.”
Not surprisingly, Marsch was fined an undisclosed amount from the league.
After the game, Vieira felt that Marsch was “crying” about the officiating, setting up Geiger to make calls toward the Red Bulls.
“When you put in a question mark on the referee’s credibility before it begins, that can have an impact, and I think you will agree it had an impact on the referee’s performance today,” he said. “And I feel sorry because we came here to play a good game and to play a Derby game, and Derby game sometimes, yes, the tackle is late, but I don’t think the referee — the referee, I believe, got influenced by the comment during the week.”
Vieira never got an opportunity to see the entire game as he was dismissed from the sidelines by Geiger during a water break in the 34th minute after he stepped outside of the coaching box.
On the way to the tunnel, Vieira had a verbal confrontation with Marsch on the field.
“The conversation to Jesse was just to stop crying and stop complaining,” he said. “I think his team was playing well, playing really good. but it was quite really frustrating and I feel sorry for him.”
Vieira claimed that Marsch had this planned for a while.
“This is a plan,” he said. “This is a way, I think, he wanted to go for, and he get fined for it. So that means he did some things wrong. You wanted to accept it or not, but that had an impact on the referee’s decision, as simple as that.”
The NYCFC coach said that he and Marsch are two different people with different philosophies.
“We are completely different as a person and as a character because he is acting one way, I’m acting a different way,” he said. “But I think this is part of the derby. He wants to win, I want to win, and sometimes there’s tension. There [are] two different clubs acting in a different way, and this is a part of the derby.
“But, of course, you can see that, after his comment, as a football club, we decided not to respond because that isn’t the way we want to do things. We have the full respect of the referee. We do understand that sometimes decision is really difficult to make from the referee. One day he’s for us. One day he’s against us. We understand it, and we respect it, and some people don’t, and they prefer to cry openly, and it’s good because it went for them this time.”