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Still questioning Aurelien Collin's straight red card

Why Fotis Bozakos got it wrong and why DisCo should rescind that red card.

Aurelien Collin can't believe the red card he got
Aurelien Collin can't believe the red card he got
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The late loss to Real Salt Lake is still hurting and Saturday can't come soon enough for the New York Red Bulls to get back in the saddle and move forward with the next game at the Columbus Crew.

But RBNY mostly lost due to things that are at least easy enough to accept as part of the game: some times, the other team is a little better or luckier, or both. The straight red card Aurelien Collin received from Referee Fotis Bozakos, however: that was an outrage.

Let's set the scene once again. RSL played the ball into the near corner and both Collin & Chris Duvall tried to get the it away. The ball squeezes out to Joao Plata and he attacks towards RBNY's area. Sean Davis chops down Plata from behind - a clear foul. Bozakos blew his whistle, but Plata scrambled back to his feet and played on, pursued by Collin, who tackled the ball away inside the area. Plata took an elaborate tumble over Collin's legs, as he likes to do.

And then Bozakos casually walked over to Collin, and showed him the red. Davis was shown a yellow. Collin was visibly incredulous (start around the 3:12 mark below).

It happened. So Collin's foul in the box was a penalty, right? Wrong. Bozakos brought play back for a free kick for the foul by Davis. So he wasn't playing advantage? If the infringement was playing on after the ball was dead, Plata should have been carded too (a harsh-but-not-unheard-of punishment) - and neither player should have got a straight red (Collin would have been sent off for a second yellow).

If Collin's tackle was deemed a red-card worthy event, regardless of whether play was live or not (you can be sent off for things you do when play has been stopped) - why not Davis? The tackle by Davis was a desperate hack from behind. Collin simply got his foot the ball and elegantly pushed it out of Plata's path. The subsequent tumble by the RSL forward owed more to his decision to try to sell the contact than any nudge from Collin.

As Real Salt Lake and Fox Sports 1 Soccer Analyst Brian Dunseth said at the time, Collin's tackle was all ball.

No penalty was called, so the ball wasn't live when Collin went in on Plata. The RSL man wasn't also carded, so the infraction wasn't ignoring the referee's whistle. Collin was given a straight red, we can assume, for what the ref saw as a dangerous tackle - but he gave Davis a yellow for a much sloppier and more cynical effort to simply stop Plata's forward momentum.

All Collin did was win the ball from Plata. On a dead play. And for that he was sent off. The Red Bulls have appealed the card - because it doesn't make any sense.

The decision should be reversed. Bozakos made a mistake. Not one we can say affected the game - the incident happened in the 90th minute of a game the Red Bulls were losing and showing little sign of getting back into - but it can be prevented from affecting RBNY's next game. Collin should be made available for selection against Columbus. Let his recovery from a mid-week game be the only issue possibly preventing him from playing against the Crew.

Mistakes happen, and one reason there is a Disciplinary Committee is address and correct them. Common sense should prevail, but - as we all know - in the world of MLS, the common sense way is rarely the path selected.