Sounders FC would like to be in a position where they don’t have to challenge red cards. However they are certainly glad that it is an option.
For the second time this season, Sounders FC has utilized the league’s appeals process after losing a player to a red card ejection, as Osvaldo Alonso’s stoppage time red card against San Jose was rescinded by an independent review panel, the league announced on Wednesday. That makes the 2012 MLS Best XI midfielder eligible for Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids.
“It shows that the challenges we’ve made have been appropriate. We felt it was a legitimate challenge and it turned out to be,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said.
Alonso has played in 10 of Seattle’s 17 regular season matches this year. He missed five out of the previous seven matches because of injuries before starting against San Jose. Though he is known for his tenacious approach to recovering the ball at all costs, the red card issued to him on Saturday was the first in his MLS career.
“I’m very happy that the team appealed the red card and I’m back on the field,” Alonso said. “I’m always happy to be on the field, to play and do my best for the team.”
Earlier this season, Obafemi Martins was red-carded against Chivas USA, but that too was rescinded by the review panel. Four red cards have been rescinded this season, two for Seattle and one each for Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake.
Getting Alonso back is good news for a Seattle team riddled with injuries in recent weeks, losing three players to injury in last week’s 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes. Add to that the loss of Eddie Johnson to U.S. National Team duty for the Gold Cup quarterfinal round and having their proverbial heartbeat back in the lineup is an important factor for Sounders FC.
“We still have a bunch of guys injured, so being able to have Ozzie back at least solidifies the middle of midfield,” said Schmid.
Alonso was shown the red card in stoppage time of Seattle’s match with San Jose when he was ruled to have displayed “violent conduct” while jockeying for position on a late free kick.
Each team is allowed to review as many red card decisions as they choose. However, they can only make up to two unsuccessful appeals and any appeal deemed “frivolous” will result in further penalty to the club and the player.
Prior to each season, each team posts a $25,000 refundable bond for the right to make up to two unsuccessful appeals. If an appeal is deemed “frivolous” by the independent review panel, the club forfeits the bond, loses the right to further appeal in that season and the following season and the punishment for the player will be doubled.
In reviewing the play, individual representatives from U.S. Soccer Federation, Canadian Soccer Association and Professional Referees Organization ask two questions of what they see in evidence submitted by the club seeking the review. Did the referee correctly identify the offense in accordance with the Laws of the Game? And is the disciplinary sanction applied appropriate for the offense?
If the answer is “yes” to both questions, the appeal is rejected and the panel then determines whether or not the appeal was frivolously sought. If the answer to the questions is “no” the appeal is upheld, however, that decision has to be unanimous. If the panel does not reach a unanimous decision, they review the tape together. If there still is not a unanimous response, then the panel rejects the claim.