After snow delayed the Philadelphia Union-FC Dallas, both teams took the pitch on Saturday on Univision Deportes. The first half featured many chippy moments at PPL Park. Among them Philadelphia Union midfielder Zach Pfeffer was making only his fourth MLS start and was involved in a somewhat controversial play.
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In the 41′ Pfeffer elbowed Mauro Diaz in what looked to be straight elbow to the face. The referee clearly showed Pfeffer a red and forced the Union to play down a man for the rest of the game.
If you didn’t notice it in the video provided by MLSsoccer.com, this GIF shows Pfeffer was in front of Diaz and tried to shield him away from the ball and his elbow hit Diaz in the face.
Many were quick to say that was a clear red card, while others weren’t quite sure. Those in the latter party would argue that there was no intent and that it was incidental contact. This red card comes on the heels of missed calls in the Union’s past games. They went against the Union just like this red card did.
If you ask me, there was clear contact. MLS has emphasized contact from the hand/arm/elbow to the face region. Yet, I’m not sure it was a clear red card based on intention. However, the center referee wanted nothing to do with that. After the call, head coach Jim Curtin wasn’t too fond of the call voicing his displeasure and the Professional Refereeing Organization’s accessor was on the field at halftime. Also Pfeffer was told by the fourth official that he didn’t agree with the red card call.
So you tell us, did Pfeffer deserve to see straight red? Let us know in the comment section below.
With Cristian Maidana out injured and Pfeffer now suspended for the next game due to the red card, the Union will have some choices to make about their formation before their next game.