Re­cent red cards have Toronto FC pon­der­ing sup­ple­men­tary team dis­ci­pline

The Western Star - - SPORTS - BY NEIL DAVID­SON

Toronto FC may re­view its in­ter­nal dis­ci­plinary poli­cies in the wake of re­cent red cards to Chris Mavinga and Jozy Alti­dore.

“I think that’s a pos­si­bil­ity,” coach Greg Van­ney said Tues­day when asked about in­sti­tut­ing sup­ple­men­tary team dis­ci­pline for such mis­steps.

But Van­ney said such a move would best be served if es­tab­lished at the start of a sea­son rather than mid-stream.

“It’s not some­thing that we’ve re­ally had to deal with in a big way and so it’s never been a ma­jor pri­or­ity,” he said. “Maybe this is a mo­ment where we think about it or at the end of the sea­son it’s maybe some­thing that we need to think about.

“But I tend to want to trust our play­ers, that they un­der­stand that peo­ple make mis­takes and that’s a part of life. But to learn from the mis­takes and we need to move on as a group and pre­pare for the next.

“Look, it’s not to say it hasn’t been dis­cussed or talked about be­hind closed doors and with the ap­pro­pri­ate guys along the way. We try to man­age as many things in-house as we can and that’s the way we be­lieve it (should be).”

Mavinga was red-carded af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle of Toronto’s 2-2 tie in At­lanta on Aug. 4 when he struck Le­an­dro Gon­za­lez Pirez, a blow that earned him a two-match sus­pen­sion.

Alti­dore was ejected af­ter kick­ing out at de­fender Alexan­der Cal­lens in the ninth minute of a 3-2 loss Sun­day to vis­it­ing New York City FC.

The two had tan­gled ear­lier. A frus­trated Alti­dore also had been bod­ied down ear­lier in the game with­out a foul be­ing called.

Van­ney said he did not ex­pect the league to add to Alti­dore’s au­to­matic one-game ban for the red card.

“I think it was more non­sen­si­cal than it was dan­ger­ous, I guess,” said Van­ney, who was sent off just once in his play­ing ca­reer.

With 37 yel­low cards and three red cards this sea­son, Toronto is nowhere near the top of MLS’s team naughty list (Colorado leads the yel­low count with 67 while Van­cou­ver has seen the most red at seven). But Toronto (6-21-5) can­not af­ford to lose key play­ers like Mavinga and Alti­dore in its bid to climb the ta­ble.

“It’s a con­cern for me gen­er­ally when guys are get­ting caught up in things that don’t mat­ter, be­cause we don’t have time for things that don’t mat­ter,” Van­ney said af­ter Sun­day’s loss. “We have to get points, we have to get re­sults. That’s about dis­ci­pline.

“It was Chris af­ter the game last week. These things are just so ir­rel­e­vant in our mis­sion to try to get back our­selves into the play­offs. Across the board, for ev­ery­body it’s just un­nec­es­sary and all it does is undo our abil­ity to take steps for­wards.”

Added vet­eran de­fender Drew Moor: “We all know, the in­di­vid­u­als know, that it can’t hap­pen. We’re fight­ing for a play­off spot right now and we need all hands on deck.”

While Toronto prides it­self on its pro­fes­sion­al­ism and ex­pe­ri­ence both in MLS and else­where, it is a team that has shown in the past that it can be wound up.

Star striker Ital­ian Giovinco (18 yel­lows and one red in his 117-game league and play­off ca­reer with TFC) is a pint-sized Mount Ve­su­vius wait­ing to blow, al­beit one who of­ten has a le­git­i­mate beef given the rough treat­ment he gets from much larger op­po­nents.

With four red cards and 18 yel­lows in his four-year, 93game TFC ca­reer, in­clud­ing the play­offs, the beefy Alti­dore is also hardly a se­rial of­fender.

CP PHOTO

Toronto FC for­ward Jozy Alti­dore is tack­led by New York City FC mid­fielder Alexan­der Ring dur­ing MLS soc­cer ac­tion Sun­day in Toronto.

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