A rush of blood to the head proved costly fo the Houston Dynamo when Alberth Elis was sent off on a straight red card seconds after receiving a yellow card in the sixth minute Wednesday night against Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Dynamo would go on to lose 5-0.
Elis received his yellow card for dissent after firing the ball out of bounds, and in the direction of assistant referee Jeremy Kieso after being whistled for a foul on Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez.
Elis approached referee Christopher Penso to dispute the first caution and received his marching orders for appearing to bump Penso, who took a step back after the contact and quickly showed the Honduran international the red card. Officially the red card was violent conduct.'
"It was a childish mistake from Alberth," head coach Wilmer Cabrera told media after the game. "He can't do that. He showed a lack of maturity. He has to be accountable for his actions. We talked about this. We can't allow it, especially considering the history that we have with this referee. The last game of ours that he refereed, he sent off three of our players and then sent me off in the tunnel after the game. I told the players (before the game), we cannot get into it with this referee. We have to be careful with this referee. He's a referee that likes to give out red cards. And if you make a mistake like that in the 5th minute...it was a lack of discipline and a lack of maturity."
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It further complicated things for Cabrera, who deployed Elis as a lone striker, opting for Mauro Manotas on the bench in a double-game week for Houston, who play at Toronto FC Saturday (7:30 PM ET | TSN4, MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US).