The last time referee, David Gantar officiated a Toronto FC match, Michael Bradley was fined for his post-match review of the official. The referee called off what would have been a game-winning goal by Brazilian striker, Gilberto for a rather questionable foul. When asked about what he thought of Gantar following the game, the American international did not hold back.
While suggesting that Gantar is “just not good enough,” and “in over his head,” did ultimately lead to a fine from the league, Bradley wasn’t wrong in what he said.
“That referee did not get it right in (Toronto’s draw against the Fire),” MLS commissioner Don Garber said following the incident.
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Despite the less than stellar feedback in September by the Reds, on Saturday night Gantar was scheduled to work the Columbus Crew home opener against, well you guessed it- Toronto FC.
Many expected that Bradley would likely be in Gantar’s ear the whole night, nobody could predict how the referee would once again impact a TFC game.
Justin Morrow was sent off for what appeared to be clean tackle, seconds before halftime. It took quite a while for Gantar to display the red card as he was mobbed by players on both teams as soon as the incident occurred. To the credit of the referee, he also went to discuss the decision with his sideline official as well. However, in the end Gantar sent Morrow off the pitch, even though he initially showed Damien Perquis the red card instead.
The call would seal the Reds’ fate, as Columbus would take advantage of being a man up and score two goals in the second half to win the game. Toronto were forced to adjust their tactics after the sending off and they simply could not hold off a talented Crew attack.
While full credit must be given to Columbus and the way they were able to get the job done after going up a man, Greg Vanney’s side will undoubtedly feel hard done by.
“Yeah, it looked like he slid in. I saw the ball rolling like he got the ball and the next thing I know the guy is falling over. The referee is running at the play, he looks at the linesman and the linesman continues running like the play is still going, and then the next thing I know he is blowing the whistle. It was one of those last man plays for sure, but from my perspective and everything I’ve seen, I didn’t see a foul so I don’t know what the whole call is.” Vanney said when asked about Morrow’s red card foul after the match.
Toronto’s captain. Bradley was much more diplomatic with his post-game comments this time around than he was back in September. When he was asked about his talk with Gantar as the two teams walked off for halftime, the American refused to lose his cool.
“I mean for me, at the end of it when you have the luxury of watching it on replay, it’s probably a little bit soft, but obviously we put ourselves in a bad position. When our guy is running in like that and you put yourself in a position where the referee has to then make a call, it can go one of two ways, and today it went the wrong way for us. Like I said, when you have the luxury of being able to slow it down and look back at it, for me it’s a tough one but it’s probably not a red card.”
Even after going a man down, Toronto were still very much in the game and simply weren’t able to handle the onslaught of pressure put on by Columbus in the second half. It is never easy playing with 10 men, but the San Jose Earthquakes proved last night against Seattle, that a red card doesn’t necessarily equate to an automatic death sentence.
Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore were completely shut down and Gregg Berhalter’s men deserve full accolades for that.
However, at the end of it all, the biggest talking point to come out of the match was not the impressive performance from the Columbus Crew, but rather how Toronto FC were Gantar’d yet again.