TUKWILA, Wash. — Chad Marshall wasn’t sure how to react. After all, the Seattle Sounders center back had only been red carded once before in his 15-year professional career.
The situation was some unfamiliar that before referee Baldamero Toledo showed him the red card, Marshall wasn’t even sure his tackle on Johnny Russell was what was under review by the Video Assistant Referee during Saturday’s match,
“At the time I didn’t even know that was what was being reviewed,” Marshall told reporters on Thursday. “I was just standing there, I didn’t know that’s what he was looking at, and then the linesman came over and said ‘I think you’re getting a red.’ I was surprised. I didn’t think there was much in it. I certainly didn’t go into the challenge trying to hurt anyone. I’m glad they looked at it and overturned it.”
The rescinded red means that Marshall will be eligible to play the Sounders’ next game on Sept. 15. It also allows him to avoid paying the fine that comes along with an ejection, something he’s only had to do once in 394 previous MLS appearances.
“I don’t want to pay the fines,” Marshall said, smiling. “That’s what it comes down to. I try to play good, honest defense. I know that giving up fouls creates set pieces and scoring chances for the other teams. I try to play the game the right way. I understand you need to be physical and hard some times, but I don’t want to give up unnecessary chances for the other team.”
Marshall was befuddled by Toledo’s decision, saying the referee didn’t offer an explanation before showing him the red card. Marshall only learned what his alleged offense had been when he saw a replay of the tackle on the video screen as he marched toward the locker room.
Marshall hasn’t gotten in much trouble in 2018, committing just 11 fouls in 23 starts for Seattle. Due to his clean play, he was grateful for the club assuming the risk of appealing his red card.
“I appreciate the club stepping up and appealing it because there are consequences if you appeal it and it doesn’t go your way,” Marshall said. “Then you could face a longer suspension and the club has to pay a fine. I appreciate the club having my back. Fortunately, it got overturned. Everyone’s happy.”
Marshall’s rescinded red is the fourth such suspension that the independent panel has overturned in MLS this season, suggesting that the implementation of video review and the process by which players are informed of review decisions still needs ironing out in the first full season of VAR implementation. Of course, that must also be weighed against the 98.6 percent of calls that have been correctly judged by VAR.
“It wasn’t an easy choice,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “I could see it both ways. But I thought it was a little soft, so I’m happy our guy came out on top.”