MLS referees are 'victims of our own success' - Peter Walton

Referees boss Peter Walton said MLS match officials are accountable, though they have been "victims of our own success," after a number of controversial decisions in recent weeks.

Coaches and players expressed their disappointment after Orlando City's Cyle Larin and Sporting Kansas City's Dom Dwyer were both denied what appeared to be clear penalties on April 24.

Those decisions came shortly after the LA Galaxy's Nigel de Jong only received a yellow card for stomping on Portland's Darlington Nagbe. De Jong was later suspended for three games.

Walton, the general manager of the Professional Referee Organization, told Fox Sports that his group takes pains to address errors.

"They're high-profile because they're so meaningful for the players and for the league itself, and we're conscious of it as well," Walton said during a halftime interview on Sunday.

"And what we do is we analyze those calls on a weekly basis, we talk to our referees collectively so we get a consensus of opinion, and then we go forward into the next games and see what we can do to put these things right."

"In fairness, though, we're only talking a very few occasions here. I do believe we are victims of our own success in terms of the early season discipline that we issued for those red cards that we saw."

There was concern last month when the number of red cards through the first five weeks of the MLS season hit the second-highest rate in the past 15 years, though dismissals have now leveled out.

"We are now getting much more consistent with our red cards and the detection of those offenses, and therefore we raised our proile," Walton said. "Unfortunately, a referee doesn't like his profile to be raised, but that's where we find ourselves.

Assignments are set well in advance under the referee's collective bargaining agreement, so an official can't be suspended from competition for at least four weeks after an incident.

Walton said the referees' desire to work important games provides incentive for them to improve.

"There should be some consequence, I don't know about the word 'punished,'" he said. "I think referees like players, like coaches, make mistakes, and those mistakes we've got to learn from. Provided he or she's not making the same mistake over and over again, and yes they are accountable, yes they do see.

"Everybody strives for those big games, everybody strives for the playoff games. And ultimately throughout the season the referees are accountable because you'll see who gets the big games at the end of the season."