To steal from one of our Twitter followers, Seth Sinovic’s 200th start was a slap in the face. Literally. The play in question happened behind referee Robert Sibiga’s back, but as we discussed in depth, it wasn’t even reviewed — at least not by Sibiga going to the monitor. It is a bit inexplicable that something so blatant wasn’t even looked at. Let’s take a look at it in case you’ve blocked it out.
Check out this awesome video: Christian Martíneza escapes with a slap on Seth Sinovic as referee failed to use VAR! https://t.co/Q5nUKRJcmz— Livfooty (@Livfooty1) May 28, 2018
As we stated on the podcast, there is really no excuse not to review this play with VAR and get it right. Despite Sibiga not heading to the monitor and VAR Jorge Gonzalez apparently indicating it wasn’t worth reviewing, a suspension has been handed down.
Berhalter said it’s a two-game suspension for Cristian Martinez. #CrewSC accepts the punishment, he said, questions why players like Zlatan didn’t get two games.— Andrew Erickson (@AEricksonCD) May 30, 2018
What I find annoying is that Greg Berhalter, the head coach of the Columbus Crew, seemed to complain that Zlatan got only one game and Crisitian Martinez got two. First Greg — can I call you Greg? — your player unfairly got to finish the game while Zlatan was rightfully red carded and sent off. Second, I would argue Martinez’s slap was far more violent, though Zlatan’s was pretty bad too.
Regardless, Martinez will miss the next two games, which will benefit Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls and not Sporting Kansas City. I believe this is the first time that has happened in 2018 after it happened repeatedly during the begging of 2017 (before VAR was implemented). That won’t make Sporting fan’s any happier.
If Sporting KC are to make a run at the Supporters Shield this is two points they could have used. They have no excuse why they couldn’t get it done versus a 10-man Columbus team, but if it was 11 versus nine, almost assuredly SKC find the back of the net. That’s Yohan Croizet’s specialty, playing up two men (way less people around to dispossess him).
Not to keep bringing it back to the podcast (though you should really listen to it), but our own Thad Bell tried to ensure this was asked about, but he was shut down because apparently VAR questions aren’t allowed to be asked of the referees.
Additionally on the podcast, we have audio where Peter Vermes expressed some frustration and this was before he had even seen a replay of the blow delivered by Martinez. I imagine he’s seen it since then and hopefully the league or PRO can give some sort of explanation at least to him. Here it is again for good measure.
So.... Apparently this doesn't warrant video review? Anyway, Martinez is unbelievably fortunate to still be on the pitch. I have no explanation for this. pic.twitter.com/gKdLm88qAu— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) May 27, 2018
Possibly related, though it shouldn’t be, is that Federico Higuain’s red card is being reviewed to possibly be rescinded. I thought it was a red when I saw it at first, but upon super-slow-mo replay it’s clear the studs don’t make contact with Roger’s leg but instead it’s just a foul. It probably should have only been yellow and therefore maybe this was a make-up call. That said, you can’t do a make-up call on a slap to the face. Just food for thought.