RBNY: Tempers Rose As The Temperature Did On Friday

USA Today

The finale of Friday night’s 1-1 draw between the Red Bulls and Toronto FC featured nearly as many incidents as digits on the thermometer. With a kickoff temperature of 91 degrees it’s unsurprising that emotions on both sides boiled over into multiple skirmishes among the players. One in particular, led to mass confusion at Red Bull Arena.

In the 87th minute, Toussaint Ricketts appeared to have given Toronto a 2-1 lead when he deposited a rebound past Luis Robles. A flurry of activity in the immediate aftermath left Toronto’s Victor Vazquez in apparent agony while his teammates celebrated in the corner. What no one heard, amidst the chaos, was referee Robert Sibiga’s whistle negating the goal.

Confusion engulfed the 21,025 fans as Toronto continued to celebrate as the scoreboard showed the visitors with the late lead, despite Sibiga appearing to signal “no goal”. The confusion grew deeper as he issued a yellow card to Robles; which didn’t seem to fit the developing narrative.

As the dust settled, however, Robles was awarded a free kick, and the goal was taken off the scoreboard. Questions in the stands remained. “Why was the goal disallowed? What happened to Vazquez? Why was Robles given a yellow?”

As you may have surmised, the latter two were related. “I was just fired up because Vazquez was taunting me,” said Robles. “He was just laughing in my face, so that fired me up.” Replays later showed that Vazquez was indeed animated toward Robles after the goal. Robles was issued the yellow card after he pushed the midfielder to the turf.

It’s unclear what, if any, supplemental discipline will be issued to the combatants. At the time of publishing, the league has not announced any.

As for the disallowed goal, legendary referee Howard Webb was at the match and explained the ruling exclusively to Metro Soccer Nation. “I think it was offside. Not the scorer, but his teammate who may have interfered with [Robles],” said the 2010 World Cup final head official.

Jesse Marsch, in his post-match interview, confirmed the explaination given on the field. “They said that Luis was impaired by an off-side player when the shot was taken, which I do believe happened,” said the Red Bulls’ manager. “Like Luis hesitated for a second because I think… Yeah, that’s what I got.”

Analysis by @OffsideModeling showed that Raheem Edwards was offside before cutting into Luis Robles’ line-of-sight

In the end, both sides earned a point with the 1-1 draw. But, unlike many other 1-1 draws, emotions made Friday’s match highly-entertaining. The feelings on the pitch were best described by Marsch who, during the match, was livid that the referee stopped play so that Toronto captain Michael Bradley could tie his shoes.

“I couldn’t believe the ref stopped for him to tie his shoes. That’s ridiculous,” said Marsch with a wry smile. “Like I asked him if he needed water, if there was anything else that we could provide Michael so that he was prepared to play. I thought that was ridiculous.”