“Going into New York City this weekend, I respect the way David Villa plays,” Marsch said. “He’s a great player but every game I watch he gets a piece of every defender before the ball comes. He fouls throughout the entire game. He hardly ever gets called for it.”
Marsch continued, “If (Villa) or Pirlo or Lampard get touched, they go down, they draw fouls, they draw yellow cards. It’s an epidemic, an epidemic across the league of these referees who want to give the benefit of the doubt to star players.”
Those comments apparently were not favorably received by league Commissioner Don Garber, who fined Marsch for his criticism of referees. The amount of the fine was not disclosed.
In their first two matches this season, the Red Bulls were called for 29 fouls while NYCFC were whistled for 24 fouls.
Marsch’s comments came just ahead of the Red Bulls match against NYCFC at Red Bull Arena Sunday, the third and final regular season contest between the two New York rivals. The first two matches at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx were a tale of two contests. The Red Bulls dominated their cross-river rivals 7-0 on May 21. On July 3, NYCFC got a bit of revenue, topping the boys from Harrison, N.J., 2-0.
The match also comes at a key point in the season with both teams battling for playoff position in the Eastern Conference. NYCFC sits in first place with 33 points, owning the best road record record in the league. Red Bulls, with 28 points, are in third place having won seven of its 10 home matches.
Mark Geiger will serve as the head referee for Sunday’s New York Derby.