The Philadelphia Union entered their match against Atlanta United on Saturday night on a four-game unbeaten run and having just beaten the Chicago Fire 3-1 on Wednesday night. Had they been able to come up with three points at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Union would have jumped above the playoff line.
But that wasn't in the cards as an incident less than 20 minutes into the match resulted in Union midfielders Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin being shown red cards after Auston Trusty was called for a foul on Josef Martinez inside Philadelphia's box. Martinez would go on to score the penalty and the Five Stripes won the match 3-1.
Bedoya was shown a second yellow card by referee Sorin Stoica while Martinez was lining up his penalty, as he judged the Union captain to be delaying the kick. Medunjanin was then shown back-to-back yellow cards for dissent after having a strong reaction to Bedoya's expulsion.
After applauding his team's effort after going down to nine men, Union head coach Jim Curtin provided his thoughts on the series of events.
"Obviously there's some controversial plays in the game. You have an instance where is it a PK, is it not a PK...they review it and they look at it. I can only speak the facts and this is what I saw and this is what I know, Ale Bedoya was standing inside the D fixing his sock, pulling his sock up. [Referee] Sorin [Stoica] took that as delaying of a penalty kick," Curtin said. "From everything that the Atlanta players have told me, from what the fourth official said, [Stoica] had no idea that Ale already was on a yellow card which is a mistake.
"And I understand it's human beings and I understand that it's a difficult game to ref, I understand that there's 50,000 people here and it's loud and [it's] in the heat of the moment but I would love for him to come out and own it and just say that he made a mistake. It's not worthy of a yellow card to the captain of our team in that moment."
The red cards were the first ones shown to Bedoya and Medunjanin in their MLS careers and the two are set to miss the Union's home match against Toronto FC on Friday (8 pm ET | TSN — Full TV & streaming info).
"From there we do need to do a better job of maintaining calm. Maybe somebody needs to grab Haris when he loses his mind a little bit. We need to keep our composure a little better in that moment."
Atlanta ended up controlling 75 percent of the possession in the match and taking 31 shots to the Union's five. Philadelphia sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind Orlando City who currently hold the final playoff spot.