KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sporting Kansas City earned a much needed three points midweek against Western Conference rivals the Colorado Rapids, but it was the end of the game that saw the match tie a disciplinary record.
In the dying moments of the match that would give Sporting their first regular season victory since March, four red cards were handed out, a feat that has only been seen two other times in MLS history.
- Miami Fusion at MetroStars – Tuesday, September 5, 2000
- D.C. United at Miami Fusion – Saturday, August 21, 1999
The refereeing crew gave five minutes of added time after the 90 minutes of regulation were complete.
- 91′ – Colorado Rapids defender Auston Trusty – second yellow card
- 96′ – Colorado Rapids defender Lucas Esteves – red card; violent conduct
- 96′ – Sporting KC defender Andreu Fontas – red card; violent conduct
- 99′ – Sporting KC forward Daniel Salloi – red card; serious foul play
In the 91st, Colorado Rapids defender Auston Trusty fouled SKC’s Marinos Tzionis earning his second yellow card of the game and sending him off early.
An already chippy match turned more and more aggressive as the Rapids looked desperately for late-game heroics to tie the score.
Now down a man, they were ready to take advantage of any opportunity to move quickly and, conversely, Sporting was looking to slow it down as much as possible.
Despite being down a man, Colorado kept attacking and creating chances as the clock wound down.
In the 96th minute, the game erupted into a violent series of events that led to three straight red cards.
SKC forward Johnny Russell fouled Rapids attacker Nicolas Mezquida who immediately got up and looked for a quick restart.
Salloi flew in to stop the attempt at the quick restart and re-fouled Mezquida. A certainly dirty play by the Hungarian who was seconds away from seeing head referee Drew Fischer walk his way with a yellow in his hand.
In that moment, Esteves, in defense of his teammate, shoved Salloi in the back sending him to the ground. Fischer immediately showed a red card to the Brazilian.
Understandably, a fight ensued.
Russell came to the defense of Salloi and had to be held back from confronting Esteves who was headed to the locker room while chirping at the Scotsman.
While assistant referees handled that situation, Fischer was talking with former Sporting forward Diego Rubio who was dissenting toward the ref.
Fontas came in to give his two cents to Fischer and was subsequently shoved away in the chest by Rubio. In retaliation, Fontas but his hands around Rubio’s neck and despite some simulation from Rubio, MLS rules state that contact with hands to the head of another player away from a game situation will result in a red card.
After three minutes and the scene calming down to allow for the game to restart and come to an official end, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) asked Fischer to review the initial foul by Salloi that sparked the violent outbreak.
Upon review, Salloi’s yellow card was upgraded to a red card leaving the game to ended 9-vs-9.
“Red cards always suck but when we’re battling together and we have each other’s backs like that, we’ll take the suspensions head on and we’ll deal with it,” Sporting KC defender Kortne Ford said. “I’d rather be a team and battle together than to not have that at all.”
All four players who received red cards will miss their next matches.
Salloi’s red card was preceded by a two-goal performance that brought his season total to four goals and helped earn Sporting KC’s third win of the season.
He and Fontas will not be available for Sporting’s roster, which is already thin due to injuries, for the match on Saturday against San Jose on the road.