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Obafemi Martins escapes ire of MLS Disciplinary Committee

Martins was shown a yellow card for kicking AJ DeLaGarza, but won't see further punishment.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The MLS Disciplinary Committee released their punishments for this week and Obafemi Martins' name was not on it. This should come as a bit of a relief, as there was a good deal of speculation that Martins' yellow card could be turned into a red after review.

The play in question happened in the 57th minute when Martins gave Galaxy defender AJ DeLaGarza a kick in the back of the leg. Referee Ismail Elfath was in good position to see the infraction and immediately issued a yellow card.

The Disciplinary Committee surely reviewed the play, but the fact that Elfath saw the foul and issued a yellow card may have actually worked in Martins' favor, as those kinds of incidents have a higher bar to clear in order for the Disciplinary Committee to act.

Where the referee sees an incident and either does not act, or rules only a foul or only a yellow card (i.e., anything other than a red card), the Committee will not in general issue a suspension, unless:

  • The play in question is, in the unanimous opinion of the Committee from all available video evidence, a clear and unequivocal red card; AND
  • The play in question is of an egregious or reckless nature, such that the Committee must act to protect player safety or the integrity of the game.

There was certainly an argument to be made that Martins deserved a red, though. Instigated or not, Martins made a pretty clear kicking motion and that could be perceived as "violent conduct off the ball."

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