TORONTO – Toronto FC were already shorthanded coming into Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg against Santos Laguna. Coming out of it, they’re even more undermanned.
Danny Koevermans will miss the all-important second leg next week in Torreón, Mexico, after being booked for dissent in the 36th minute of Wednesday’s 1-1 draw. The Dutch striker tried to catch Santos off guard on a free kick by setting up quickly and taking the kick. But instead of issuing a stern warning, American referee Ricardo Salazar showed Koevermans a yellow card, infuriating the tall target man.
Koevermans did not address media after the game, but defender Miguel Aceval, who drilled the eventual spot kick for the equalizing goal, helped shed some light on what happened on the play.
"Unfortunately, just prior to Danny arriving to the free kick, spot they asked for the distance from the referee and Danny didn't hear that," Aceval said through a translator following the match. "So it was just a quick play that happened. He was just going for the quick goal."
Due to the yellow Koevermans received in the quarterfinal first leg against the LA Galaxy, he’ll miss the return leg due to card accumulation. It’s a costly penalty for the Reds, who are already out with captain Torsten Frings and vice captain Stefan Frei due to injury.
Head coach and technical director Aron Winter once again will have to re-evaluate his roster after TFC’s weekend match against Columbus and make adjustments for next week’s second leg in Mexico.
"The way that he got the card, I think it was unnecessary,” Winter said, “and at that moment, the referee could also give him a warning instead of straight on a yellow card because he thought he could get the free kick.”