In the 60th minute of Sunday’s game between the New England Revolution and the New York Red Bulls, Bradley Wright-Phillips earned a yellow card for trying to prevent goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth from rolling the ball to a teammate. Wright-Phillips will now miss the return leg of the Eastern Conference Championship because of yellow card accumulation. Both the player and his coach were surprised of the suspension, which isn't good for the Red Bulls.
When asked about the punishment in the post-game press conference, head coach Mike Petke answered with disbelief.
"What? Bradley is suspended?’’ He said to reporters. "I didn’t even realize.’’
Sunday’s yellow card was Wright-Phillips’ second of the playoffs as he was booked for a late-game tackle on DC United’s David Estrada in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The two cards mean that BWP will have to sit out for a game.
"I didn't know the rules of the yellow card accumulation," said Wright-Phillips said. "I'm angry, obviously. I'm angry. Stupid yellow card and now I have to pay."
While it’s debatable whether or not the two-yellow-card suspension is overly strict, the focus should be on the fact that Petke and Wright-Phillips weren’t aware of the rule. With so much on the line, both individuals should know the consequences of a yellow card. To not know is simply bad preparation.
Even without the threat of suspension, Wright-Phillips needs to make a better decision on the play. Challenging Shuttleworth was foolish as BWP was bound to draw the ire of the referee.
It should be noted that Roy Miller committed a similar senseless tackle in the second game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. After receiving a yellow card early in the game, Miller was given a straight red for a high challenge on Sean Franklin. The red was earned in vain as it was given after the game was out of reach for DC. Miller is now missing both legs of the Eastern Conference Championship as he was suspended for getting a red and for amassing two postseason yellows.
A successful playoff run can be offset by lapses in concentration. The Red Bulls have already made two large mistakes, which could prove costly.