New England Revolution up in arms over Matt Reis' ejection in loss to Impact: "It's tough to swallow"
On the list of potential gestures, it probably ranked near the top of the list of appropriate expressions. Reis could not believe referee Sorin Stoica dismissed him for his tackle on Marco Di Vaio in the fifth minute of the defeat.
Di Vaio created the incident when he latched onto Felipe's clipped ball over the Revolution backline and moved toward goal. He bundled his touch – on the replay, it even looked like a scuffed shot – around Reis. The veteran goalkeeper hauled Di Vaio down as the ball skittered over the end line and prompted the inevitable penalty decision and the expected red card from Stoica.
Reis took no issue with the potential penalty award, but he disagreed with Stoica's assessment that the foul denied a goalscoring opportunity and warranted a red card.
“I think it's harsh and it changes the game four or five minutes into the game,” Reis told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “It's not that clear-cut. If it's a ball that he touches around me, I come through and clean him out, then fine. It's such a quick, bang-bang play.”
Revolution captain Jose Gonçalves agreed with his dispatched goalkeeper and noted the direction of the play – one of the four components required to constitute denying a goalscoring opportunity under Law 12, according to a US Soccer position paper – did not justify the choice to send him off.
“I think, for me, it was a bad decision from the ref,” Gonçalves said. “I don't see why he should give the red card, you know? I think Matt went for the ball. Even if Matt dodged slightly, Di Vaio played it well. The ball was not going into the goal. It was going outside. It's a smart play for him, but it's a hard red card.”
Gonçalves also disagreed with the penalty awarded against him for a foul on Felipe shortly after the half-hour mark, but the initial decision against Reis exerted more influence on the game. Reis' early departure forced the Revs to toil against the Impact – a team that works particularly well in space – with reduced numbers for the final 85 minutes of the affair.
As Reis prepared to depart for the evening, he pondered the fallout as his side fell to a first defeat in four matches and wondered what might have changed if he had only found a way to stay on the field for the duration of the affair.
“It's one of those things,” Reis said. “It's tough to swallow.”