Plenty of discussion has taken place over the calls made in Sporting's 2-1 loss to Chicago last night at Toyota Park. A lot of that discussion has centered on the foul by Roger Espinoza on Sebastian Grazzini when the two went for a 50/50 ball and Espinoza's elbow hit Grazzini in the face. Rookie referee, Jose Carlos Rivero made no hesitation going to his pocket and producing a red card. Grazzini definitely made a meal of the challenge, especially considering he was almost immediately right back on the field, but watching it again you can hardly argue that Espinoza went into that challenge recklessly. See it again below.
Fast forward now to the end of the game, immediately after the game finished, Peter Vermes was interviewed by Sporting KC's television staff on the field. Vermes was certainly frustrated and had the adrenaline flowing with the end of the game, and came out saying that Rivero had made himself the center of attention, that he'd made the game about himself, and that he had been the man of the match.
Reading his quotes in the post match press conference, he'd seemed to calm down, but not much, say: 'The referee is there to ref the game, not to be part of the show. And today, that’s what he made himself. He made himself part of the show. And that’s disappointing, because players, they work hard, they are the ones who are the entertainers on the field, not him, and unfortunately that’s what the game was like today. He changed the game.”
He continued to specifically discuss the red card, saying "...but the red card is not a red card."
He compared Espinoza's red card this year to the one Omar Bravo got last year in this game. "Two years now here, in a row, we come here and we have two red cards which aren’t red cards, which completely changes the outcome of the game."
Vermes then goes into discussing the loss of Espinoza for the next game as well, although hints at appealing the decision: "So now we don’t only lose the player for this game, but we lose him for the next game, depending on whether MLS does and allows the appeal."
After that, Vermes is asked flat out if he will be appealing the red card. “We’ll be watching it. We’ll be watching what the angles are, what show it, because that’s a big part of the appeal and we’ll make a decision from there. As of right now, it probably looks pretty darn good. I saw it live. Our guy clears the ball, and the other guy runs into him, it’s actually a foul on the other guy. If there’s anything going on there. Once a guy jumps, he can’t change his position, and he’s played the ball, not the other way around. Just a first time referee in the MLS, makes a very, very poor decision.”
I don't know what Vermes saw live, but having the ability to watch replays on TV from the comfort of Quick's BBQ last night, I don't think it looks "pretty darn good." Espinoza jumped into the challenge and led with his elbow. To me that's a definite red card due to the reckless nature of it. To me personally I think Espinoza is going to be earning himself at least 1 if not 2 extra games for that challenge.
So to me it's a no brainer that you don't put an appeal on this red card, it doesn't make sense. It especially doesn't make sense once you read about the appeal process. Teams are allowed 2 unsuccessful appeals during the course of the season, the part that worries me, is the third part of section 1, regarding frivolous challenges. Similar tackles to Espinoza's have earned multiple game suspensions and I could see a challenge of this being deemed frivolous. Should that happen, KC would be unable to appeal red cards for the rest of this season and all of next season, and the suspension is automatically doubled.
The decision to actually challenge the red card on Espinoza has already been made by the team, as the appeal has to be made within 24 hours of the completion of the match. As of this posting, that time has surpassed. So we will see if the team did choose to, but do you think that KC should appeal Espinoza's red card?