Brian Schmetzer, Sounders express concern over ‘targeting’ of their offensive players

The Sounders are downright peeved with how some of their most skilled players have been targeted in recent weeks by opponents bent on slowing them down. “They’re targeting our players again,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said.

A new Major League Soccer video review system being launched this weekend won’t help the Sounders much with one of their biggest gripes about officiating thus far.

The Sounders are downright peeved with how some of their most skilled players have been targeted in recent weeks by opponents bent on slowing them down. There’s little a new Video Assisted Referee being installed at every Major League Soccer match starting Saturday, when the Sounders play at Minnesota against the expansion United side, can do to help.

Video review can only be used on plays resulting in goals, penalties, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity. That won’t help Sounders like midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro, who has spent the past month getting kicked, elbowed, shoved and hard-tackled both with the ball and away from it.

“They’re targeting our players again,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said after last Saturday’s draw at Los Angeles. “It was simple. We’ve called to the league, we’ve tried to make it clear and we’ll keep doing it.”

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The Sounders say the targeting began when they faced the Colorado Rapids on the road back on July 4. In that game, the Rapids committed 18 fouls and drew five yellow cards – injuring two Sounders players and physically shoving several more to the ground when they weren’t playing the ball.

One game later, D.C. United literally chased Lodeiro all over the field, kicking away at his ankles and shins. Schmetzer complained postgame about “targeting” for the first time and implored his players to stand up for their teammates more.

Then, in an ensuing win over San Jose, the losing Earthquakes committed 15 fouls and drew three yellow cards to none by the Sounders. That was followed by last Saturday’s affair, where Jermaine Jones of the Galaxy nearly sparked an on-field brawl with a vicious slide tackle from behind on Lodeiro late in the first half.

As he has following each of the four contests in question, Sounders vice president of soccer Chris Henderson added comments about the perceived targeting on the referee’s report he files. Henderson said he’s also been in touch with Peter…

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