Referee defends red card to Atlanta United’s Mulraney

Atlanta United midfielder Marcelino Moreno tries to dribble past Nashville SC midfielder Luke Haakenson (26) during the second half of an MLS soccer match Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Caption
Atlanta United midfielder Marcelino Moreno tries to dribble past Nashville SC midfielder Luke Haakenson (26) during the second half of an MLS soccer match Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Credit: Mark Humphrey

Credit: Mark Humphrey

Atlanta United’s Jake Mulraney received a straight red card from referee Joseph Dickerson in the 74th minute of Atlanta United’s 2-2 draw with Nashville on Thursday.

Mulraney ran down Nashville’s Randall Leal near the top of Atlanta United’s penalty box. Mulraney slid, got the ball first and then Leal went over the Atlanta United’s players legs. Dickerson ran up and issued a straight red card.

The Professional Referees Organization was asked to explain why a straight red card was given, and why the original decision wasn’t overturned by the Video Assistant Referee.

The group answered: “Jake Mulraney committed a foul by tackling the opponent, denying him an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

“The VAR checked the incident and did not identify a clear and obvious error.”

There wasn’t an obvious goal-scoring opportunity because Santiago Sosa, who was beaten by Leal in the run-up to Mulraney’s tackle, had caught up to the play.

Atlanta United manager Gabriel Heinze said that Dickerson told him that Mulraney didn’t get the ball. Mulraney got the ball.

Heinze said that he is going to ask Atlanta United Vice President to appeal the red card. If Atlanta United loses the appeal, Mulraney will not be able to play in the next game on July 17 against New England at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. MLS teams are allowed to make a maximum of two unsuccessful appeals of red cards each season, so teams have to be judicious in their usage.