Sounders FC’s Osvaldo Alonso practiced Thursday just like he did Tuesday, but something was different this time.
This time the midfielder was eligible for Saturday’s home game against Colorado after an independent review panel rescinded the controversial red card he had received over the weekend at San Jose.
Here is how Alonso described the play, which referee Sorin Stoica deemed was “violent conduct” involving “contact above the shoulder.”
“We were pushing each other in the box,” Alonso said in reference to a scuffle with Earthquakes defender Dan Gargan. “You’re always pushing. But the referee came to me, made the call and gave me a red card. It surprised me. I walked away with that, but I know the team was going to appeal the call, and fortunately we did and won the appeal.”
Asked if he got any explanation from Stoica, Alonso added: “The referee came to me, he showed me the card and said, ‘You punched him in the face.’ I said, ‘I didn’t touch him.’ He said, ‘Yeah you punched his face.’ I walked away and watched the video after the game.”
Alonso said he was confident the red card would be overturned: “I walked away with my head up because I didn’t do anything.”
Coach Sigi Schmid was asked for his thoughts on the decision, too, particularly if it was getting tiresome having to appeal these calls.
“We’d like to be in a position where we don’t have to challenge the cards, but obviously it also shows the challenges we’ve made have been appropriate,” Schmid said. “… A lot of people helped in getting together the video, and also hats off to the league in terms of acknowledging it. It would’ve been very easy for them to say, ‘Hey, they’ve won one already. Maybe we don’t need to get them to win another one.’ But it’s a situation where we felt it was a legitimate challenge, and it turned out to be.”
Alonso’s return will also solidify a center-midfield position that — outside of goalkeeper — may have been hit hardest by injury.