Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith called the double red cards for captain Dax McCarty and New York City FC Maxi Moralez in last Friday’s match very avoidable.
His mind hasn’t changed in the days since even after Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday it had denied the club’s appeal of McCarty’s red card, meaning the 34-year-old midfielder will miss Saturday’s Match against CF Montreal as he serves a suspension for a direct red card for the first time in his MLS career.
McCarty and Moralez were both also fined for failing to leave the field in a timely manner. The club appealed McCarty’s suspension to the independent review panel, to no avail.
“I don't change my mind on that having seen it again," Smith told reporters during a zoom call on Thursday. "…The situation was created by lack of presence, I felt, by the referee."
The incident began when McCarty chased down Moralez and knocked him to the ground after the ball was stolen from him on a restart in the 43rd minute of Friday’s match. Moralez, taking exception to being blindsided by McCarty, immediately got to his feet and grabbed McCarty by his throat as the benches spilled onto the field.
"When you look back, in fact, I thought [Dax] did a very good job of keeping his arms by side when he was pretty much accosted by two or three players,” Smith continued. “For me, that constitutes a review and I'm disappointed that they haven't found a different scenario on that."
Additional fallout from the incident includes fines to Nashville SC's Jhonder Cadiz, Ake Loba, Jalil Anibaba and Alex Muyl for violating the league’s policy on entering the field of play. Teammate Dan Lovitz was fined for violating MLS’ policy on hands to the face, head and neck of an opponent.
Cadiz was also issued a one-match suspension for his involvement in the scuffle and will miss Saturday’s match against Montreal as well. Both Nashville SC and NYCFC were issued warnings for their first violations of the league’s mass confrontation policy.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_