CARSON, Calif. – For the fifth time already this season, Chivas USA limp into a matchup with a void created by red card suspension.
The Rojiblancos, who ranked third in the league with seven red cards in 2013, had their latest case Wednesday night when defender Bobby Burling was sent off for a loud tackle on Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi, who had scored both goals in a 2-0 result at StubHub Center.
Head coach Wilmer Cabrera told reporters he thought official Edvin Jurisevic's decision to pull a straight red from his pocket was a bit harsh, but there weren’t too many visible complaints from the home side. Burling appeared to jaw at the Timbers’ bench immediately after taking down Adi – a reaction that might have heightened the punishment.
“It was complicated with 10 men just to keep playing,” Cabrera said.
Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy thought the decision was rough, too.
“The referee saw it differently than I saw it,” Kennedy told reporters. “I thought the ball was there to be won and it was a hard challenge, but it was shoulder to shoulder, maybe shoulder to chest. But because it was in front of their bench, it was a little bit exaggerated. The ref said [Burling] hit [Adi] in the face, but he clearly didn’t hit him in the face. It was one of those plays where he got caught up in the emotions and it definitely was a little harsh.”
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The Goats host the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night, so there won’t be much time for them to find a replacement for the 29-year-old veteran. Burling was sidelined earlier this season due to various injuries, which paved the way for on-loan defender Eriq Zavaleta to slot in at center back alongside Carlos Bocanegra.
The lineup figures to once again feature holding midfielder Oswaldo Minda, who was suspended for Wednesday's loss due to caution accumulation.
“In order to compete in this league, we have to be deep,” Kennedy told reporters. “You can’t just rely on one, two or 11 guys. Whether it’s suspensions, injuries or form, guys are going to have to sub in and step up.”