A Jan Gunnar Solli red card in the 80th minute wasn’t enough to deter the New York Red Bulls from their 2-0 wild card win against FC Dallas, but it is enough to keep the Norwegian right back off the field for New York’s playoff game this Sunday against the Galaxy.
But being a man down for the game’s final minutes acted to galvanize Solli’s teammates, who hung on for the crucial win. Solii acknowledged his team’s spirit and how they fought hard against a late Dallas onslaught to lessen the impact of his dismissal.
"It’s never a good situation when you get sent off,” Solli told MLSsoccer.com. "You feel like you’re letting down your team. Everybody was like, 'We are going to fight for you,’ and it helps the whole thing."
Solli was given a straight red card for a two-footed lunge from behind on FCD midfielder Daniel Hernandez, leaving Solli to watch the remainder of the match from the locker room.
Referee Ricardo Salazar did not hesitate in going to his back pocket for the red card, in large part due to the nature of the foul. Replays show that Solli was going for the ball, but his tackle from behind, which FIFA has been keen to outlaw from the game for some time, made it an easy choice for Salazar.
"I can understand the referee after seeing the replay,” Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe said. "I think it is a 50-50."
The red card means that the Red Bulls will be without Solli when they host the Galaxy on Sunday (3 pm ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes). The former Norwegian international came to the team this year as a central midfielder but was converted by Backe into a right back. He has started 31 games in his first year in MLS and has shown a penchant for striding forward to join the attack from the fullback position.
Solli could be replaced by Carlos Mendes, who made a late appearance in the match on Wednesday night.
"I can’t wait for the LA game, but unfortunately [it will be] without me because I [have] seen the replay from my tackle," Solli said. "It didn’t’ feel like a red card because I didn’t hit him really hard. But it's from behind and it’s one of those that you can discuss it. I hope I only get one game and then that I can contribute against LA away. But I’m going be there and root for the boys."
Fidencio Enriquez contributed to this story.