SBI Reader Poll: Was Olave’s tackle a red card?

JamisonOlaveNewYorkRedBulls3-HoustonDynamo (USATodaySports)


The first 64 minutes of the 2013 New York Red Bulls playoff campaign were going about as well as they could have hoped.

They held a 2-1 lead on the road against the Houston Dynamo, and though Mike Petke’s side had conceded early in the second half and were on the back foot, they were repelling the Dynamo’s subsequent attack and still in the game.

Then, in the 65th minute, Ricardo Salazar reached for his back pocket and pulled out a red card, pointing it to Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave after a reckless tackle near midfield on Dynamo substitute Omar Cummings. The decision left the Red Bulls down to 10 men and likely contributed to the Dynamo’s eventual comeback with the 2-2 draw.

The red card was a lightning rod for criticism, with many saying that it was a deserved straight red and others saying that it was no more than a yellow card.

Regardless of the severity of the crime, the Red Bulls will now have to play the second leg of their Eastern Conference semifinals series with the Dynamo without their best defender. It’s a decision that, if the Red Bulls do fall at home on Wednesday, Red Bull fans will look back and point to when remembering the 2013 season, one that saw the team win their first ever Supporters’ Shield.

So with all that in mind, what did you think of the red card decision?

Cast your vote below.


How did you vote? Think it’s silly to even have this discussion? See the tackle as having been worth just a yellow card?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, MLS Playoffs, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- New York Red Bulls, SBI Reader Poll. Bookmark the permalink.

86 Responses to SBI Reader Poll: Was Olave’s tackle a red card?

  1. Jzop says:

    It was a clear purple card. This is a complete travesty of a decision. I hope the MLS reviews the call and bans the referee for life.

  2. AcidBurn says:

    A secondary question would be: what should a competent ref have done in this situation?

    After looking at it several times, I think this is a tackle that looked much worse than it was and a competent ref would have given a yellow, considering the place on the field, time of game, etc. Also note that Cummings sold it as if his ankle was broken when he was fine, because Olave didn’t make direct head-on contact with him.

    Redcardo instead ran in there and whipped the card right out, and started gesticulating wildly for the stretcher. HEY LOOK AT ME, I’M BEING DECISIVE!!! A more competent ref would have shown some restraint.

    • OPMG says:

      I have to disagree. The ref was absolutely correct. Those tackles from behind where the player lands on the legs and ankles of the opponent have a high potential for breaking bones or badly injuring the player. Clearly a red, no two ways about it. Position on the field or time of game have no bearing on the call and are completely irrelevant in this case.

    • Dustin says:

      European Referees do the same thing all the time. You’re just biased against Salazar.

    • M says:

      It’s a tough call, because the action of scissoring a guy from behind should be a red, period. But i can see the argument against it, because it was one of the tamest takedowns you’ll see like that. However, I think I’d begrudgingly give a red for it, as there’s just no place in the game for tackles like that. Obviously, this one wasn’t as vicious, but these are the types of tackles that end seasons, possibly careers. There has to be a rule against them to avoid such things, and that rule has to be applied here…

    • CeezNYRB says:

      I’m sorry but no. You’re wrong. As much as I would have liked it to not be a straight red, it’s a straight red…and yes, I’m a Red Bull fan (just check my username). I’m a USSF referee. The terminology in Law 12 of the Laws of the Game is “serious foul play”. It’s one of the 7 Send-Off Offenses for which we have to issue a red card. End of debate.

    • Eurosnob says:

      A competent refs would produce a red card any time he sees a scissors tackle.

  3. John says:

    Salazar’s roid rage ruining another game.

  4. Disco Stu says:

    Red fo sho

  5. purge says:

    The homerism on SBI has gotten ridiculous this year.

  6. kar says:

    As a reasonably impartial observers (Fire Fan), to me the tackle is a clear red card.

    The player’s approach (from behind) and technique (legs on both side of the player, scissoring through) show a reckless disregard for the opponent’s safety. I feel a red card would have been justified even if Olave had made contact with the ball first. Making absolutely no contact with the ball at all is icing on the red card.

    • Eric says:

      Am an SKC fan (so “impartial,” I guess, even though I don’t like the Dynamo…but i’m siding with them on this one), I pretty much agree with your perspective 100%. The scissored follow-through is what sealed the deal for me. Olave gave Salazar no choice but to send him off.

    • downintexas says:

      I hate Houston and had Olave on my fantasy squad. That said it was a clear red.

    • RP says:

      Red is the right call. Quakes fan so as impartial as I could be here. It was way too clumsy and too much of his body landed on him. And from behind.

      Anyone who says otherwise either wants blood or is a red bulls fan

  7. PSU says:

    Nowhere near the ball. Scissored the players legs in a way that looked like it could easily brake an ankle (I do think it looked worse than it actually was). Easy red card.

  8. Georkt says:


    • whoop-whoop says:

      Players move on. We on the other hand blindly speculate on things that haven’t happened yet, and then perpetually argue in circles towards no end once they have.

  9. Georkt says:

    If Red Bull can’t win in RBA then we don’t deserve to go to the next round. Hopefully without the NFL advertising and Houston’s awful field conditions.

  10. Aguinaga says:

    Abstained. The foul was foolish at best, given. And I’m NY trhough and through. The more relevant questions to me are:
    1. 6 cards total were handed out. 1 to Houston, 5 to NY. Was the physical play really that disproportianate, where NY was that clear an aggressor?
    2. Is there any accountability for referee issues/complaints? If so, where does it lie? Is there any transparency?
    3. Why isn’t there a simple yellow card, red card like system in place for league reviewed repeated mistakes in judgement or consistency?
    4. Are there any publicly available sources for metrics / analysis for MLS refs where refs in this league can be clearly called out for trends/behaviors that are clearly and unusually outsid the average?

  11. Chris says:

    Salazar certainly has some history:

    link to

    • Shawn says:

      He does have history. But this was a red card but the Laws of the Game. Scissoring with the trailing leg leaves any ref no choice. Anywhere in the world, that’s red.

  12. BFBS says:

    I don’t know what the rules say, so I am only talking about what the rule should be.

    I generally see a straight red on a tackle only when the cleat is exposed and makes contact with the opponent.

    In this case, however, the damage would have come from Olave’s own knees bending Cummings’ legs in an unnatural position. And I don’t see why that should be treated any differently than a “cleat exposed” situation, if the purpose of the straight red is to protect the opponent from serious injury due to reckless challenges. Olave’s totally mistimed tackle could have put Cummings in the hospital. Accordingly, the red card was probably the correct call.

  13. Matt C says:

    shocking. Ref followed the rule. two-foot-unnecessary challenge from behind .getting no ball. Martino was an idiot saying it was a yellow.

  14. Travis says:

    Not sure if you are able to but posting a video would be helpful in a discussion about if a particular incident was a red card or not.

    It is hard for me to give unbiased opinions on Salazar since I think he is useless but I will say the man seems to enjoy giving out cards WAY too much. Its like he has waited all game for the moment for him to shine.

    • Ives Galarcop says:


      • Dustin says:

        Oh you agree with the guy who doesn’t like the referee who gave the player on your team a Red Card. Interesting though. You could try to do a scholarly piece on refereeing instead, maybe use some referees as references. Ya know instead of doing what you’re doing, building up an angry mob and stoking the flames to get everyone to agree with your biased opinion. Just a thought.

  15. John says:

    How about the bogus yellow on Henry for challenging Tally Hall to a header.

    • Sean357 says:

      No, even Henry knew he messed up (and was very apologetic). Don’t think there was any intent but by the time Henry’s body got there Hall had the ball firmly in his hands and got smashed into.

    • CT says:

      Previous replies ignore the fact that all referees do and should protect the keeper. Since Tally already had the ball in hand, a mere foul call would have been pointless. A card was the only way to sanction the impermissible contact with keeper. Keep in mind Salazar’s view point was from behind Henry and he had no way to judge the force of the contact.

  16. Rex says:

    Can we vote on the PK non-call at the end of the game? It was more obvious than the red.

    • alocksley says:

      THAT was the awful (non)call everyone should be moaning about. The red card was justified.

    • RP says:

      Got to agree.. Would like to see a poll on that as well.. And other close calls for that matter..

      8 of 10 times that’s a PK

    • Beto says:

      +1 that is the call I would be focusing on! The Olave call was boarder line red/yellow; the tackle desirved red but it happened in a way that a yellow could have been fine. Red was fare. The last minute missed pk was so clear! The game should be 3-2, assuming they could convert the pk, and two players suspended

      I was rooting for NY but not if they are going to play this recklessly and demand special treatment for the refs.

      • Shawn says:

        I thought the no PK was a make up for the red. Salazar didn’t want to hear what would’ve been said if he ‘decided the game’s that way.

        But it was a stone cold PK. And as an SKC fan, I ‘loathe’ Houston. Honestly, as far as the card distribution went, the total looks bad, but I don’t recall a clear yellow even he didn’t give Houston. They had possession most of 2nd half . So fouls get skewed.

  17. coffeeleaf says:

    After sitting point blank range when the incident happened, I clear saw that this was potential for a red card. The way Cummings legs bent as both players went to the ground when Olave’s legs wrapped around Cummings, I thought his legs were going to break. Cummings legs could have been broken from the side of the kneecaps and possibly the ankles because Olave’s had his legs wrapped around Cummings from the back of the knees. It looked horrible being up and close to it and had looked like he could have broken his legs. Clearly not a thought out tackle. But then again, when is Olave’s tackles EVER thought out???

  18. SRB says:

    Clear red card….unless you’re a NY homer or or a website journo looking for cheap hits.
    That tackle will be seen around the world under the “horror tackles” segment.

    • Joe Timbres says:

      Uh, no captain hyperbole. If they had broken his legs, it would have been up there with Brian Mullan’s. Are you a Sounder fan, because that is just a stupid and willfully ignorant statement. But if you are a Dynamo fan, quit whining, you guys play like steaming hot garbage.

  19. SRB says:

    In what world is this not a red card?
    It doesn’t help when you have two of the most ignorant idiots calling a game

    link to

  20. ASP says:

    It was ignorant of Olave to make the tackle where and when he did, but I don’t think the play was worthy of the result.

    Red Card cannot, nor should not be issued for stupidity.

  21. Kojo says:

    For all of those people who think the officiating is so poor in MLS and want to move away from the physicality of MLS to a league where players with more technical ability can shine some of you sure have a funny way of trying to achieve it. The tackle was reckless whether he got the ball or not. Straight red. And remember the ref doesn’t get to look at a replay and then make his decision so it has to be a quick one. All this coming from a Red Bulls fan in the south who would rather see the league move away from athletic bruisers to a league that shows the beautiful game. Less Moffat and Collin and more Joseph and Opara quickly come to mind.

    • Cory says:

      Well said. At some point this kind of tackles need too be erased from the league.
      I don’t think any skilled player would want to come to a league where a tackle like that is considered a yellow.

  22. alocksley says:

    It was a clumsy, dangerous tackle. The guy was scissored down viciously, which is a recipe for a straight red in any league. This was the one decision the ref got right all night. New York should be pissed about all the other absurd calls made against them, but not this one.

  23. Mark says:

    I’m a Red Bull fan, so completely biased, so while I don’t think it was a red, I can see why he gave him a red card. Not worth arguing about as we’ll never change one another’s minds, and it doesn’t really matter at this point. We won’t have Olave on Wednesday. Given our home record this year, even without him I like our chances to advance even against an experienced team like Houston who knows how to get it done during the playoffs. If this were a previous season, I’d probably be terrified, but something about this year’s edition of the team…

  24. wfrw07 says:

    As an NY supporter, I have no complaints with the red card. I think a different ref on a different day might have shown yellow, and I think the discussion would have similar to this one, where there would be a 60/40 split with those who agreed versus disagreed with a yellow being correct. That said, I don’t think there would be outrage against a yellow being shown outside of Houston fans.

    Bottom line is that Olave needlessly put himself in a position where the ref could make that call, which of course is something you would really prefer not to be in. Add in the area of the field where Olave felt the need to make the tackle, and my problem is with him, not the official.

  25. che says:

    Clumsy tackle, but the fact Ives put up a poll proves the call itself was debatable. Cummings did an excellent job of selling it to the ref.

  26. Cory says:

    “I see that tackle a lot during the game” said Martino
    Where do they find these people? I find it hard to believe this is as good as it gets as far as commentators goes.

    • Bean says:

      I hate to say it, but Martino is terribly wrong on this. He’s not the most competent announcer, but that statement is ridiculous. He’ll always hate the Dynamo.

    • RP says:

      I like Martino on match. But not too sure on him calling games. This reinforces that.
      At best it’s criticized yellow.

  27. Vinny Parmagianacenzosorantellocoradaretti says:

    Bla Bla Bla-blazo
    NY PINK COWS out to pasture.

  28. Jacknut says:

    Clear red card. Should be suspended for the rest of the playoffs. Henry and Cahill should be suspended as well. Henry for the handball and Cahill for inflicting Midnight Oil on the world.

  29. Mug says:

    NYRB fan. Definitely a red. We got lucky with the min-penalty call and yes, Salazar is horrible.

  30. BrianK says:

    Well,….red or yellow,…there was no need for that tackle. Place should have stayed on his feet. It was a terrible decision to go in like that,…out on the wing,….where was the attacking danger.

    Pity. But as someone noted above,…if Reb Bulls can’t win at home then they don’t deserve to advance.

  31. whoop-whoop says:

    I’m not a fan of either team. Not a fan of Salazar’s refereeing in general. I think he had an erratic, poor night. He started off letting everything go, not asserting himself early enough in the game. When things escalated as one can easily predict happening in a playoff game, he had to play catch up which is a hard thing to do with emotions running high.

    All that said, Olave scissored himself around both legs from behind…. it was a red. Slow motion side view up close, I suppose an argument could be made to give a yellow and a stern warning, but that would be giving a guy a huge break. And… Salazar had to make the call real time, play going away from him 30 yards away. I was disappointed and P’Oed… you hate to see a red card change a game/series but… bottom line is, it was an unnecessary, very stupid tackle by Olave and many refs in many leagues would have made the very same decision.

  32. John F says:

    As a ref, I don’t think a red was justified. However, all I saw was the slow motion replay. Salazar was right on top of that play and saw it in real time. I would not be surprised if it looked much more dangerous to him. That being said, what was the card issued for: serious foul play or violent conduct?

    • Dustin says:

      As a referee you should know that this is Serious Foul Play. And in the MLS it doesn’t really matter since VC and SFP both come with only 1 game bans.

  33. Rudi says:

    There should be no emotion or fandom connected to this decision- only the laws of the game and an objective interpretation of them.

    This tackle falls under the “Serious Foul Play” offense qualification for a Red Card. Fifa broadened the definition of this language by including this interpretation: “Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.”

    Olave used a dangerous, two legged tackle from behind, using excessive force and endangering the safety of Cummings.

    Therefore, Red Card.

  34. chris_thebassplayer says:

    Is this really debatable? Clear red.

    Just an incredibly dumb decision for Olave to sell out on a nothing play near the sideline that far away from goal. It’s not the ref’s job to save him from his own stupidity.

  35. karlomabo says:

    I am a NY fan. That foul was a red card but in the other hand I dont think the last play was a penalty. As soon as I find out salazar was the referee I know something stupid was happening….

  36. WTO says:

    In a real league Olave gets a 3 game suspension for that tackle.

    Are the commentators supposed to be playing good cop/stupid cop? I just don’t see any other reason why anybody would call that a yellow card.

  37. Quit whining aboit soccer in the US says:

    35% didn’t think it was red ? I can’t imagine what red looks like to that many people ? Does it have to be Mullins crushing Zakuani’s career ? Blows this Sounder’s fan’s mind.

  38. Mike says:

    The dynamo have made many enemies amongst butt-hurt supporters of their play-off victims… No surprise people would vote against anything seemingly pro-dynamo.

  39. wagner says:

    Red card lucky to get away with yellow – from NYRB fan.
    Terrible decision by Olave 40 yards from goal on the touchline.

  40. sk1593 says:

    How about addressing the PK that wasn’t called at the end of the game.

  41. White Kix says:

    For everyone who thinks that is only a yellow, you must have never been a victim of a tackle like that. If you have ever been tackled by anything like that play, you will know it is a clear red card. If that is not a red card, then no tackle would ever be a red card. That is about as bad as it can get and we are lucky Cummings was not sersiously injured on the play.

  42. Older & Wiser says:

    I am a Red Bulls fan and licensed USSF Referee. That tackle was clearly red-card worthy. No ball, from behind, leg sweep with the trailing leg. That’s a potential leg-breaker in any league in the world. Instead of discussing the referee’s apparent glee in issuing cards, the discussion should be focused on poor decision-making by Olave. What was he thinking?

  43. Mason says:

    Excessive force. Serious foul play. Straight red.

    Tackles like that are used in referee training courses to demonstrate what SFP.

  44. JoeW says:

    I’m not a fan of either team, I don’t have a dog in this fight. So I think I’m pretty impartial. Straight red to me. Scissors tackle…with force…from behind or the side…didn’t get the ball. Doesn’t matter if Cummings “sold” the foul or there were histrionics on his part or if he wasn’t hurt. Those who said that videos of scissors tackles are shown to referees in training courses as “this is an example of a straight red” are spot on.

  45. Tweaked says:

    First of all Olave should get a straight red for being an idiot. You two foot, side swipe a guy with no attempt to play the ball along the sideline when Salazar is your ref…come on, don’t be stupid.

    Second he should get a straight red because he two footed, side swiped a guy with no attempt to play the ball.

  46. DUDEEROO says:

    RSL fan – straight red.

    I am not sure how this is even debatable.