SANDY, Utah — So far this season, Real Salt Lake have had to make do without players due to injuries, illness, national team call-ups and suspensions.
But when RSL face D.C. United on Saturday (10 pm ET, MLS LIVE), it will be without half of their starting back line due, at least in part, to time-wasting. In last week's 1-0 win over Colorado, RSL outside backs Chris Wingert and Tony Beltran were yellow-carded for time wasting, resulting in one-game suspensions for yellow-card accumulation.
Real Salt Lake remain flabbergasted at the turn of events.
“I think if you talk about the yellow cards, you'd have to ask the referee why he didn't give any warnings to Chris Wingert or Tony Beltran before giving yellow cards out,” said veteran RSL defender Nat Borchers. “That was a little bit odd for me.”
“It's really weird, because it's something that we harp on,” RSL Coach Jeff Cassar told reporters. “We want to keep the tempo of the game fast. I really didn't understand why he was going after this.”
“He” refers to referee Baldomero Toledo, who pulled out those yellow cards and threatened more in Colorado. Yes, RSL had to hang on to beat the Rapids with only 10 players following Aaron Maund's red card in the 46th minute. But Wingert's yellow card (watch the play here) came in the 34th minute, long before Real Salt Lake were likely to be worried about wasting time.
“It's just amazing that we had a game before against Vancouver where the referee gave eight warnings to the goalie, and nothing happened,” Cassar said. “We don't even get any warnings, and we get two yellow cards.”
Not only that, but Toledo was “rushing our goalkeeper to put the ball in play quickly when he hadn't even received the ball from the ballboy. So it was odd.”
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Cassar was adamant that, despite the fact that his team was hanging on to that one-goal lead through 43 minutes of regulation and four minutes of stoppage time, there was no plan to kill the clock even by the time Beltran was booked in the 84th mintue (watch the play here).
“I can tell you right now that it did not come from the staff or myself to slow the game, because we don't believe in that,” he said.
In the meantime, he's considering his options for Saturday's game against D.C., with Beltran, Maund and Wingert all suspended.
“It's going to be a tricky one. It doesn't happen too many times where both outside backs are gone in a game,” Cassar said. “But we're prepared. We have guys that will step in and do a great job for us.”