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Reversal of Fortune: Godoy, Quintero Suspensions Rescinded

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An independent panel has reversed the suspensions that Anibal Godoy and Alberto Quintero had acquired with red cards against Toronto FC.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After two questionable red cards issued by referee Alejandro Mariscal last Saturday in the match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Toronto FC, an independent panel reviewed and reversed the suspensions for Alberto Quintero and Anibal Godoy, according to Head Coach Dominic Kinnear and other sources within the organization.

Sources in the Earthquakes front office indicate that the team feels vindicated about the amount of effort they put toward lodging the appeal and lobbying for the decision given that the panel agreed with their interpretation of both calls. While any potentially reversible call may invite an attempt at appeal, extra effort was warranted here due to the importance of both players and the unusual number (two) of potentially errant red cards.

In fact, I could find no other record of two red cards being rescinded in the same game in the history of Major League Soccer. In 2012, two red cards were rescinded in the same match in the Premier League, which the Daily Mail reported at the time to be the first time in English history that had occurred (and has not occurred since). However, in that match, one red was rescinded from each team, leaving the possibility that the Quakes are the only team in a major soccer league to have two players incorrectly sent off in the same match.

The first incident occurred in the 41st minute, and can be seen here:

The second occurred in the 53rd minute, and can be seen here:

Simon Borg, an analyst for MLS who does a weekly segment reviewing refereeing decisions, agreed with the referee in both circumstances that a red card was justified. On my own podcast (at the 15:47 mark), I argued that the first red card was justifiable, if harsher than I would have given, and that the second was a clear mistake. I am surprised, however, that the independent panel saw grounds for reversal, since both tackles at least plausibly checked some of the boxes for red card status, and certainly fell within the window of "judgement" that referees and committees typically view as sacrosanct (rather than errors of identity or non-contact).

Technically, the cards themselves are not rescinded since that would constitute "replay review," which has yet to be authorized by the league. Rather, only the suspensions that go along with the card are rescinded (h/t Sean Steffen for the clarification). That leads to an unusual circumstance where Godoy will not only avoid the two game suspension that would accompany his second red card of the season, but also avoids a yellow card accumulation suspension he would have been assessed had the referee made the correct call (yellow) in the first place. That means both are available for selection against Real Salt Lake on the road this Friday.

The referee, Mariscal, had previously taken head duties for an MLS match just once, in 2010.