LA Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney has blasted the decision of referee Ted Unkel to send off Kevin Cabral during Wednesday night’s 3-2 defeat at home to Minnesota United.
With the hosts already 1-0 down, Cabral was given a straight red card on 25 minutes after the French winger caught goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair on the head with a stray boot as he jumped to avoid a 50-50 challenge.
Just 18 minutes later, Minnesota raced into a 3-0 lead and although the Galaxy managed to pull two goals back in the second half, they couldn’t overturn the deficit.
Safe to say Vanney was less than impressed with the decision and its influence on the match.
“I saw video from all angles. He’s certainly trying to get out of the way,” Vanney said of Cabral. “There was no intention, and red cards change games. Now you’re at 10 [men]. I felt like we didn’t manage the situation great, maybe a little shock. I was so shocked that he was walking off the field. I didn’t even think he’s going to get a yellow card because it wasn’t even that to me. So I don’t know.”
Asked about the incident by a pool reporter after the match, Unkel and his officiating team backed their decision to send Cabral off for ‘violent conduct’, with VAR confirming there was no clear and obvious error.
Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond defended his teammate, insisting violent conduct offenses aren’t in Cabral’s nature and that goalkeepers should expect a certain level of contact in situations like this.
“I have seen it back as well on the replays and Kevin is clearly trying to jump out the challenge,” Bond said. “We all know what Kevin is like as a player, and he is not the type to leave anything in there. The contact is so minimal. Personally, whenever that happens to me, I expect some sort of contact somewhere and usually when that happens, I probably don’t react even that much. You just carry on in the game.”
Loons head coach Adrian Heath naturally took a different view, believing the contact was enough to leave Unkel with no choice but to show a red card.
“He made contact with Dayne,” he said. “I don’t know about how forceful it was, but he did make contact. Really then the referee doesn’t have much…he has no other way, he has to send him off. He hit him in the head.”