Eric Hasseli received the best MLS red card ever in Wednesday's Vancouver versus New England fixture. Upon scoring a penalty to put the Whitecaps ahead, Hasseli on a yellow card already, whipped off his shirt and threw it into the crowd revealing a second jersey underneath. He promptly got his marching orders. Despite arguing it was the same shirt he had been wearing.
Vancouver was a man down already and would play much of this match with nine men. Gershon Koffie was sent off at the end of the second half following an elbow on Pat Phelan. Yes, Koffie did elbow Phelan in the face, but to be fair Koffie went straight up and was protecting himself. Meanwhile, Phelan came running in and jumped into Koffie. This is very similiar to the ridiculous penalty that Phelan drew against DC United thanks to the same official Baldomero Toledo who loves to be the center of attention. In the second half, Hasseli received his first yellow card for an elbow on a Kevin Alston. If you are going by the logic of elbows equal red cards then he too should have been sent off. Both were elbows and both could be deemed dangerous. However, both times the Revs players got back up and played on. In this incident Toledo actually had called a foul against Alston on Hasseli prior to Alston going down like he'd been shot. Toledo waited to see the Revs player rolling around before making his decision on the Hasseli yellow card. I'm sorry, but he obviously didn't see the elbow and made his decision on based on seeing Alston rolling on the floor. Unbelievable.
Now if we're going on this inconsistent logic, it makes complete sense that Toledo would miss yet another important call. New England's Zak Boggs should have seen a red card or at the very least a yellow for taking down Camilo in the box; which resulted in a penalty. He does look to be the last man back on every replay I've seen. That is a professional foul of taking down a goal scorer with an immediate goal scoring chance. Yet, Toledo bottled it like he always does. This certainly would have put another twist into this game.Hasseli would score the penalty and then be sent off.
A.J. Soares would be sent off in the second half for the Revs. This was a hard tackle, but deserved no more than a yellow card. To be fair he didn't make a lot of contact either. But Toledo produced a straight red. I don't understand the inconsistency. Football is a contact sport and there will be hard tackles. Toledo is treating this like ballet. Lets be as gentle as we can, so no one gets hurt. Thanks again Baldomero Toledo for giving out the most red cards of any MLS referee. You truly are shit at your job. Yes, taking off the shirt is a proper card, but the others... I don't know. I'm not sure why he is allowed to affect matches by continually being assigned to work in MLS. This is the second match he has "help" New England secure points in this season. The first time against DC United, and now against the Whitecaps; who despite playing with nine men for times in this match were the better team. Though they looked exhausted in the last five minutes of the match. The talent has gotten better this season in the league. It's time the officiating did, too.
Again, Vancouver looked good. Atiba Harrison has been a revelation this season. His ability to hold the ball up and lay the ball off is something he hasn't shown prior to his time in Vancouver. His movement off the ball has also been fantastic, too. Getting into open spaces to receive the ball and running at defenders, which is something the Whitecaps do extremely well. The club has also shown with their early success the importance of having a core of players come up from D2 to play in MLS; and that includes manager Teitur Thordarson. Only a few months ago many people were deriding this club for their non-MLS experienced signings and the drafting of Omar Salgado. Now those people have turned the other way and are enjoying the football this team is playing. I've truly enjoyed watching this team this season. They will make the playoffs, and don't be surprised when they make an RSL or Colorado like run when they get their. In my opinion, New England has benefitted from the referee too many times this season (twice now from Toledo). I honestly can't say they are that good of a team, but a team that does just enough and has fight in them.
I had predicted a 1-0 Whitecaps win, however, the Revs were able to get it done in the end and get a 1-1 draw.