FRISCO, Tex. -- FC Dallas knew they were going to have a battle on their hands on Saturday. And not long after the game began, their quest for points became more of an uphill battle.
After all, FC Dallas played a man down for over 70 minutes of their home contest against the Seattle Sounders, yet they still managed their third clean sheet of the season with a 0-0 draw at Toyota Stadium to remain unbeaten in 2015.
But according to some Dallas players, the red card that resulted in the ejection of 19-year-old defender Kellyn Acosta in the 18th minute was a bit peculiar.
That's because the foul actually occurred in the 17th minute.
“I thought it was going to be a yellow because he said ‘play on,’” Acosta said following the game about referee Kevin Stott, who called the foul. “I never thought you could play on and then come back and it be a red card.”
Acosta, who was making his first start of the season, challenged for the ball around midfield and wound up putting his foot higher than he expected into the midsection of Seattle midfielder Andy Rose. And he admitted it was a foul.
“It was a rash challenge on my part, and I put myself in a bad situation,” Acosta said.
“I was glad to be in the starting XI. That’s probably why I went into that tackle,” he added. “I was excited and trying to be aggressive and show my worth.”
But the controversy of the play, according to some Dallas players, lies in the fact that the referee allowed Seattle to continue up the field and make a charge towards the Dallas net. The Sounders ended up with a viable scoring opportunity, but a heads-up defensive play by Zach Loyd negated the Seattle sequence.
Regardless, Acosta was not the only player who thought the decision to let play the advantage was uncommon.
“I thought it was a little bit weak, to be honest,” said FC Dallas midfielder Ryan Hollingshead. “I’ve never in my entire life in playing soccer seen somebody carry on and let play continue on and pull a red card after.”
Hollingshead played collegiately with Rose at UCLA and acknowledged that Rose did take a blow from Acosta after seeing the damage to Rose after the game, going as far as justifying the red. But Dallas’ most recent breakout star was not a fan of the timing of the call.
“If the referee’s going to pull out a red card, he needs to stop play right there and call it a red card and not let play continue on and then go back and call it a red card,” Hollingshead opined.
Head coach Oscar Pareja was non-committal for the most part on the card, saying that he would like to review the play first. But he did show sympathy toward his player.
“Knowing the urgency in that moment that he had to get the ball, I’d have to say that it’s hard for me to believe that it was a very obvious red card,” head coach Oscar Pareja said. “But it’s not me judging the decision. I have to deal with it.”
Despite the ejection, the defense responded with another clean sheet.
“After the red card, the boys just showed one more time what we’re made of and what we believe here,” Pareja said. “So that’s what I want to recognize.”
Scott Sidway covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.