I REALLY didn’t want to talk about this, but with today’s events I feel like I have to. However, before I do let me be completely clear about two things:
I also want to take you through the lead up to this past weekend so that you can see that, by and large, most of the red cards (including some of the ones coming as a result of VAR) the Revolution have received of late have been earned. Stupidly, stupidly, earned.
The problems began on September 13 in Atlanta when, with the Revs already down 0-1, midfielder Xavier Kouassi picked up a deserved 16th red card for putting his studs into the ankle of Atlanta’s Yamil Asad. It wasn’t a malicious tackle, but it was a sloppy one and the contact was solid. There was no call on the field, but through VAR Kouassi was shown a red card and this was the right call. Atlanta went on to score six more goals in a drubbing of historical proportions. It’s what happened in the 38th minute that bothers me.
Again, let me be clear, according to the rules a handball in the box is both an automatic penalty kick AND an automatic red card (“denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity”), so going to VAR and reducing the Revs to nine men was right, but was it “just?” Take a look for yourself. Despite what the Atlanta announce team said, was Antonio Delamea’s arm in an “unnatural” position? It seems to me he was stretching to clear the ball and threw his arms up as part of the stretch. I don’t know, maybe I’m too much of a “homer,” but I don’t see anything “intentional” on his part.
(takes deep breath)
Fast forward to the next week against Sporting KC when, in his second appearance for the club Krisztian Nemeth (remind me again why we needed another forward on this club?) decided- despite the team being advised by Jay Heaps to “be smart” after the events of the previous week- he needed to thrown an elbow in the 11th(!) minute of the match. He should be given a second red card for being an absolute fenek. Zusi made an absolute
meal banquet of it, but only because Nemeth gave him an opportunity to do so. Feel free to watch it if you wish. He knows the matches are filmed, right?
(clutches Teddy Bear)
Which brings us to this weekend against Orlando in which there were eight(!) yellow cards, and of course the red card we’re going to talk about. Silviu Petrescu is, in my opinion, one of the better officials in MLS, but he completely lost control of this match after he issued the red card (the first card of the match) to Xavier Kouassi. About that red card… Watch, listen, repeat.
For my money that’s not even a foul, but if an official wants to blow the whistle and award the ball to Orlando, I’m don’t have a problem with it. It is not, however, a yellow card, and certainly not a red. Kouassi won the ball cleanly and on his follow through the inside of his foot caught the foot of the Orlando player. Take a look at the moment of contact:
Could you see the bottom of his boot as the play concluded? Yes, you could- but after the contact with Hines (which is inside of foot to inside of foot). But here’s a challenge: go out in the back yard and try to execute a slide tackle without ever exposing the bottom of your boot. Actually, if you’ve played at any level you won’t need to risk the grass stains, you’ll know that it is impossible.
The announce team didn’t even take notice of the “foul,” Seb Hines, the “victim,” got up pretty quickly and calmly- not looking for a foul, much less a card of any color- and referee Silviu Petrescu (who could not have been ANY closer to the play) seemed content to have a quiet word with Kouassi as play was about to restart.
Now remember, as you heard on the commentary, a referee’s on-field decision will only be overturned if (I’ll condense), “an obvious mistake was made.” Sounds good. Did you see anything there that was so obvious as to need to be overturned? I certainly didn’t. Anyway, the Revs lost 6-1. Which brings us to today.
(searches for binky)
From Major League Soccer:
Ex-squeeze me? A-baking powder?
Let me try to get my head around this… The red card that was issued to Xavier Kouassi via VAR was the result of- this is the actual MLS language- a clear and obvious error(s) or a serious missed incident(s)– when, in fact, it was neither? Let’s take those one at a time.
But everything is now okay because Kouassi can play in a meaningless match against Atlanta United tomorrow?