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Sounders win appeal of Obafemi Martins red card

Obafemi Martins, DeAndre Yedlin

Seattle Sounders’ DeAndre Yedlin, right, greets Obafemi Martins (9) after Martins scored against the San Jose Earthquakes in the second half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, May 11, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Simon Borg at the league’s official website does a great job of breaking down the weekend’s controversial calls. This week, one of the highlights was the Obafemi Martins red card incurred at Chivas USA, referee Ricardo Salazar having judged the Sounder striker kicked out at Gabriel Farfan in the 70th minute.

Of course, since it was Salazar that made the call, Sounders fans were even more enraged by what would have still been viewed as an unfair call (their heightened demonization of Salazar is nothing new). But the official was right on the scene when Farfan and Martins collided. And, as Borg notes, what looked like a well-after-the-whistle jab back at the new Chivas man could have been seen as violent conduct.

Here’s the video and his analysis, starting at 2:47:

It’s not the most convincing red card, but Borg makes a good case. On the surface, there have definitely been worse decisions.

That doesn’t mean it was the right call, something Major League Soccer affirmed today, electing to uphold Seattle’s appeal of the Nigeria striker’s suspension:

An independent review panel has rescinded the fine and one-game suspension for a red card issued to Seattle Sounders FC forward Obafemi Martins in the 71st minute of Sunday’s game against Chivas USA. Martins will be eligible for Seattle’s game this Saturday against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

I could go either way on this one. If Salazar’s close enough to make that call, I’m going to trust him. And if Borg breaks it down and makes a good case, even better. But if the review panel heard something compelling from the Sounders -- something so compelling that they’re willing to overturn the decision -- I’m willing to give that the benefit of the doubt.

So congratulations to the Sounders, who get Martins back for Saturday’s derby against Vancouver. But also, well done by the review panel to be willing to look beyond an ‘it could go either way’ video and hear Seattle’s case. It must have been a compelling one.