Sports Soccer

Penalty spurs talk Whitecaps captain targeted

By Tyler Green, 24 hours Vancouver, soccer columnist

Jay DeMerit was on the wrong end of a brutal call last Saturday, but was it a reputation thing? (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)

Jay DeMerit was on the wrong end of a brutal call last Saturday, but was it a reputation thing? (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC had a disappointing and frustrating result Saturday against Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC.

Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit was called for a penalty in the 81st minute, which led to Seattle tying the match 2-2, and both teams walked away with a single point. It was a terrible call and each and every ‘Caps player, fan and media member were shocked by it, myself included.

But that moment made for some interesting discoveries.

Those discoveries included that not everyone gets my Twitter sarcasm and some feel the officials may be targeting DeMerit.

I tweeted in what I hoped was sarcastic fashion that “DeMerit likes giving away PKs.” It was received at various times in the night with a laugh, a question about my intentions, or with anger.

I’ve now learned a few things:

1. Sometimes I have awful delivery with twitter sarcasm.

2. I need to hashtag #sarcasm more often.

3. Responding to people is occasionally a poor choice.

4. We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.

Sarcasm on Twitter is difficult. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and I’m sure I’ll do well occasionally, while also failing miserably at it.

On a different note, I spoke to players from both the Sounders and Whitecaps post-match in an “off-the-record” setting, meaning no names used (players don’t want to get fined or suspended for ripping on Major League Soccer referees). A few questioned whether DeMerit might be getting targeted for the way he plays.

DeMerit gives it his all, leaving everything out of the field, emotionally and physically.

Occasionally he can be reckless, but with two penalties called against him in his last three MLS matches, some teammates and opposition who know DeMerit were left wondering if his style is now a target for referees who are, “looking for an excuse to call a penalty against Jay.”

It’s difficult to say whether the 34-year-old centreback is a victim of targeted calls, and it would be sad if he has to change what he’s done around the world during his career.

“I'm too old to start changing my game and play less committed than I already do," he said.

On a play that everyone seemingly saw clearly was not a penalty, here’s hoping MLS referees start seeing the game better too.

Tyler hosts SOCCER TALK on AM650 Radio, heard Saturday nights at 10 p.m. to midnight. Follow Tyler online at and on twitter @tylergreenFC.





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