Once again, FC Dallas was in position to get a significant result and saw the challenge made significantly tougher by a player ejection. Last time, it was Kellyn Acosta. This time, it was Blas Perez for what appears to be hands to the face of Drew Moor as Dallas was up 1-0 on the road in Colorado. The ejection meant FCD played down a man for 36 minutes and will be without the Panamanian for the heated rivalry with the Dynamo next Friday.
For a team that set a team record for red cards in a season, the second ejection in eight MLS matches is not a good sign. As we have said before, this is a trend that could cost this team hardware of some sort this year. It certainly cost them playoff positioning last year as they would have been in third rather than fourth place had they taken points in any of the games in 2014 where they played down a man (or two). The game at Portland where they were up 2-0 before falling to 2-2 due to Perez and Moises Hernandez getting sent off alone would have done it. That would have allowed Mauro Diaz to rest a little longer, and the team would have been able to use him in the conference semifinals against the Galaxy rather than the play in game against Vancouver.
But there were also games against the Red Bulls, Earthquakes and DC United where ejections also cost the team directly, let alone in the following game where the red carded player had to serve his suspension. True, the United match saw the injury to Diaz so that may have been a lost cause anyway, but that game saw both Zach Loyd and Michel sent, with the next game being the New York game. Shorthanded already, then with the Watson red card and now you are looking at an impossible situation.
Some are trying to set aside the issue, dismissing each card as a random situation. And to address Oscar Pareja’s comments on the subject, it is true that these are not violent red cards. This is not a thug team. But with two red cards in eight games, it is a team on pace to have 8 or more red cards, and as we saw last season, that many ejections will cost a team.
On another note, this is also clearly a team not deep enough to handle such absences, either. Agreed, the cards are not for fighting or dissent (although at times, maybe the team is getting away with more complaints than they should), but they are for things that professionals should know better than to do. Surely the team can maintain the eagerness and hustle while being more careful with their elbows, cleats and emotions.
If they do not, beware the effect it will have on what is still a very promising season for FC Dallas.