As game-turning red cards go, Alan Kelly’s banishment of Seattle Sounders defender Oniel Fisher on Sunday has been about as non-controversial as they come.
Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, whose team benefited from the call, said he didn’t get a good look.
Seattle coach Sigi Schmid, whose shorthanded team went on to suffer a 1-0 loss, voiced no complaint.
And neither did Fisher after the Sounders returned to training Monday.
“I just went in for a tackle,” he said. “I thought I lunged in two-footed tackle. The ref make his decision, and that’s just what it was. … That’s his decision.”
The play came in the 41st minute of what was then a scoreless match at CenturyLink Field. Seattle central defender Brad Evans and SKC midfielder Connor Hallisey both went down for a loose ball. Hallisey seemed to win the challenge until being upended by Fisher, who went to the ground and won the ball. It was more of a trip than a chop, but Fisher showed his studs, and Kelly showed the card.
Seattle played a man down the rest of the way, and SKC broke through with a weak but winning goal from Nuno Andre Coelho in the 73rd minute.
“I thought there were some things we did well, especially when we were playing 11 against 11,” Schmid said after reviewing the match. “Even when we were a man down, the combination that led to (Andreas) Ivanschitz’s shot that hit the post I thought was a good combination. It’s the kind of a goal that we normally don’t take. (Stefan Frei is a) good goalkeeper, so I’m not going to fault him, because he’s saved us a lot of times. We’ll move forward.”
The Sounders move on to Real Salt Lake, but Fisher’s red card will leave him ineligible for the 1 p.m. Saturday match in Sandy, Utah.
His absence could be mitigated by the return of Tyrone Mears, the usual starter who suffered a quadriceps strain last week, opening the door for the 10th start of Fisher’s professional career.
“I thought I did fairly well — up until the red card, obviously,” Fisher said. “… I’m in a good situation right now. I’m doing well in practice. Coaches have given me good feedback about how I’m doing so far. It’s all positive right now. I’m just looking to work hard and see how I can help the team in whatever way I can.”
Schmid echoed the assessment of the second-year defender from Jamaica by way of the University of New Mexico.
“I thought he was having a good game,” Schmid said. “He got forward well. He got himself into some good situations.”
Late in the match the Sounders also lost Evans to a left shoulder injury. Schmid said Evans was scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging exam Monday afternoon.
Also out for the opener was midfielder Erik Friberg, who suffered a hit in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match at Club America last week.
“Friberg took the next step in his concussion protocol,” Schmid said. “So it’s the trainers who will tell me when he’s back in. But if there are no setbacks, there’s a chance he’ll be back in by Wednesday or Thursday.”
The Sounders are off Tuesday before returning to training Wednesday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.