SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders’ 1-0 Western Conference Knockout Round win over Sporting Kansas City was nothing if not physical.

The ill-temperament began in the 32nd minute when referee Ismail Elfath issued Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso a yellow card for a foul on Roger Espinoza. Alonso came in hard on the tackle and left Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes fuming.

“That was a red card all year long,” Vermes said. “The fact he doesn’t get that there is an absolute travesty.”

If Alonso’s yellow card on Espinoza drew the ire of Vermes, Alonso’s challenge on playmaker Benny Feilhaber in the 67th minute could not have helped. Alonso slid in hard but seemed to not make contact with the ball or Feilhaber, and Alonso was not whistled for a foul. Feilhaber remained on the ground for several minutes before refusing a stretcher and subsequently earning a caution himself for dissent.

“I think that [the Professional Referee Organization] and Major League Soccer owe our club an absolute apology,” Vermes said in his post match press conference, “because this game was taken away from us today.”

The contest was as physical a match as the Sounders have seen recently, with 30 total fouls, four yellow cards and plenty of others that very well could have been. Feilhaber spoke with all four referees directly after the match, but was less censorious in the locker room.

“No I was wrong, it was obviously a correct call,” Feilhaber said of the play on Alonso. “You know, they got the throw-in so obviously [Osvaldo] Alonso kicked it right off me. [It was] a clean tackle, obviously, and I was definitely wrong in asking for a yellow card on that play.”

Sounders interim head coach Brian Schmetzer was right in front of the confrontation between Alonso and Feilhaber, but Schmetzer said he wasn’t concerned about whether Alonso would receive a second yellow for that challenge.

“It’s out of my control,” he said. “Control the controllables.”

Schmetzer was also pleased with the way Alonso handled himself in that situation, as well as the rest of the team over the final 30 minutes when the game became extra chippy.

“We’ve talked about that pretty consistently over the last couple of weeks,” Schmetzer said. “Ozzie kept his cool for most of the game. I think our team handled the pressure of the game fairly well and we’re going to continue to do that because we know, we understand that we can’t afford to have any silly red cards or anything.”

Vermes and Schmetzer customarily shook hands after the match, but their exchange was a quick one. Emotions were running high, and Vermes was still notably upset.

“I just congratulated him,” Schmetzer said. “What do you say? There’s not really any words I can say to make him feel any better.”



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