I wanted to do this a in a similar fashion to my previous posts, but unfortunately there aren't highlight videos of every single play to embed. But I can assure you, after watching the second half again, I have no idea how the game didn't end with each team down a man last week in Toronto.
Seriously, I take back pretty much all the bad things I said about Allen Chapman from my Philly breakdown. I gave Chapman some flak late in that game because the Union got a little rough at the end and I thought maybe he could've done a better job to keep everyone on the field. It's not that Amobi Okugo didn't deserve his red, he absolutely did, but perhaps it could have been avoided in my opinion.
Fotis Bazakos had poor game management the other way. He should've started sending people off midway through the second half. And he had plenty of chances to do so and for some reason chose to keep the red cards in his pocket. And in one case, the MLS DC, as far as I know, has also kept a suspension in their pocket as well.
I'm also willing to say that Bazakos did fairly well with his yellows, not that calling professional/tactical fouls is particularly difficult, but there were a few of them.
So here are the top players who could've seen a red card in Toronto.
Honorable Mention - NE Juan Agudelo
No, I'm not crazy to say that Agudelo could've gotten a red card. The fact that he didn't get a yellow for his jawfest with the Toronto backline, Doneil Henry in particular, was stunning. If he hadn't been subbed out with an injury I am almost certain he would've seen a yellow at some point and once you're on a yellow, anything can happen. Also went down in the box looking for a penalty on Henry (which probably started the jawing) and I wouldn't have been shocked to see him booked for that either. Yes, Henry led with a forearm, but he had position on Agudelo and I didn't see much in the contact.
#3 TFC Doneil Henry
To me Henry found almost found himself in the same position as Conor Casey did two weeks ago, spending a little too much time talking and fouling and he did pick up a late yellow for a tactical foul on Dimitry Imbongo. That was also Henry's 5th foul of the match, although not really in persistent infringement territory, he did dangerously lead with an elbow in a foul in the 54th minute that was properly whistled for a foul. And to be fair, Henry did stay out of trouble for most of the second half until his yellow. But had he been on a yellow from earlier in the match, perhaps offsetting yellows with Agudelo at some point just to get the two of them to stop talking, what would've happened late in the game? Would he have held up Imbongo and taken the red or let Imbongo go to keep 11 men on the field?
I'm not sure, but it was an interesting thought I had so I put Henry third on this list.
#2 NE Lee Nguyen
I was flat out stunned that Lee didn't see red twice in this game. And it wasn't from his lack of trying either. In the 63rd minute, Lee completely unnecessarily dumped Robert Earnshaw on the near sideline from behind. I thought yellow there wouldn't have been unfair but Lee gave me another chance about 10 minutes later. Now officially, the play is called back for a foul on Scott Caldwell and I have no idea how Bazakos calls it back after trying to play the advantage.
Yes, Scotty holds up Jonathan Osorio, but then Lee again unnecessarily slides in late and that's when Bazakos calls it back when the advantage doesn't materialize. Regardless of whom the foul was on, Lee absolutely could've (and I assure you, should have) seen his second yellow and then red for that play as well. That fact that he was still on the field at that point is staggering to me because for the second time in recent memory (Imbongo vs. SKC), Jay Heaps failed to protect a player on a yellow card by removing him from the game.
#1 TFC Steven Caldwell
This sadly is the easiest one of the bunch. I've heard a few people make the argument that he could've seen straight red for this challenge on Nguyen in the 68th minute, and while it might have been studs up, the challenge was at ball height as far as I can tell from that one angle. I'm more concerned with Caldwell's reaction, going after either Jose Goncalves or AJ Soares because they climbed over his back on the previous free kick.
Instead of being a captain and pleading his case to the referee, Caldwell takes matters more or less into his own hands and that's a huge no-no as far as I'm concerned for any player. Never confront another player over something they did or didn't do, nothing good can come of it. Ever. State your case to the referee and let it go.
Because if you don't let it go, you're going to see this:
That is Steven Caldwell, after being whistled for a foul, denying a goal or not, dropping what appears to be an F-bomb at a center referee.
And it doesn't matter what he said, the reaction alone is enough for dissent and a second yellow card. You can't go screaming at the referee after every call that doesn't go your way. Caldwell, who again is supposed to be the captain should have been sent off on the spot, and he'd have no argument against it. Just because the referee isn't calling climbing on someone's back every time it happens doesn't mean you can react like that.
But I can assure you, if Caldwell did say anything like what I think he said, direct verbal abuse like that is absolutely a red card offense. It doesn't matter who it's said to, you refer to me or one of my assistants in a manner that I don't like, you go home. Period. It's one thing to drop an F-bomb after you've flown a shot twenty yards over the bar. It's another to scream it at the top of your lungs five feet from a center referee.
And the fact that the MLS Disciplinary Committee hasn't acted on this yet (this was written Thursday night) is a travesty as far as I'm concerned. Review the tape. Is that how you want your players to act? If Lee had gotten a suspension for whatever reason, I'd have been okay with it because it would've been deserved, but to me this is beyond obvious. You can't have players acting out like that, regardless of whether or not Caldwell actually used abusive language, especially towards a referee
If we can't have consistency from the referee's or the MLS DC then what exactly is the league doing? Why have a DC if they can't get even the basic stuff correct? We can't have people complaining that the DC is going over the top of the referees too often AND people saying they don't do enough. It boils down to consistency, from the officials and the MLS DC.
And right now, they don't have either.
More from The Bent Musket:
- Revolution 1-1 Toronto: Player Ratings and Man of the Match
- Breakers' Forward Sydney Leroux Scores Four in USWNT Rout of Mexico
- The 3rd Yellow - Revolution at Toronto FC - Part 1 - Goals and Non-Goals
- Breakers Hire Tom Durkin as Coach of the Future
- Parkhurst Called Up for United States World Cup Qualifiers, Replaces Injured Evans