Referee Baldomero Toledo was the man of Sunday’s match between San Jose and Dallas for all the wrong reasons, granting two of the most baffling red cards likely to be handed out this season.
Mark Sherrod finally made his home debut Sunday, named to the Earthquakes starting XI for the first time after sitting out two months recovering from knee surgery. Toledo rewarded him with a straight red in the 53rd minute of the 0-0 draw, giving him marching orders after making contact with the head of Dallas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
It looked as if Sherrod was attempting to avoid Kennedy as he stepped over the goalkeeper who was rising from the ground. The call incensed Quakes head coach Dom Kinnear, who was issued a warning as he screamed at Toledo from the technical area. Kinnear was measured after the game but still disagreed with the call:
“In my opinion it was not a red card. Mark was actually trying to get out of the way as Dan Kennedy was lifting up his body. They got tangled up, and it was incidental and accidental. The referee saw it differently.”
Toledo said he believed that Sherrod displayed violent conduct and that there was intent. Sherrod said that was not at all the case:
“The cross came in and he was on the ground and I was just trying to get out of the way. His head came up to my cleat and I definitely nicked him but, it was 100 percent incidental.”
Matias Perez Garcia gave Toledo more than a piece of his mind after the sending off forced Kinnear to substitute him for Adam Jahn, he threw his water bottle to the ground in disgust on his way to the bench. Kinnear explained afterwards:
“The referee said to get him off of the field because I think he said some things that weren’t too kind. He was upset.”
Toledo would provide an encore of sorts however, showing a straight red to Dallas defender Je-Vaughn Watson for an innocuous challenge on Cordell Cato in the 75th minute. Toledo issued a third red card in the 87th minute to Earthquakes midfielder JJ Koval for a studs-up challenge on Ryan Hollingshead.
Toledo’s red mist ruined a game that despite only seeing a combined three shots on target between the two teams, saw some of San Jose’s best attacking buildup of 2015. Chris Wondolowski said the Quakes started rolling midway through the first half:
“I did think the last 20 minutes of the first half we started playing well, started connecting a lot of passes. We got a lot of opportunities and that’s why you’ve got to finish every opportunity that you get.”
Both teams created chances in the first half, with David Bingham coming up huge for San Jose on a diving one handed save to thwart Michael Barrios shot from 10 yards out.
The San Jose midfield of Cordell Cato, Matias Perez Garcia and Shea Salinas linked up well with forwards Wondolowski and Sherrod in the first 45. The best passage of play came in the 34th minute when Garcia rolled a ball through to Wondolowski in the box, forcing Dallas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to make a charging save.
After Victor Bernardez nearly ended his scoring drought on a set piece header, Shea Salinas was not granted a penalty after going down in the box following what appeared to be a late challenge. Kinnear thought the Earthquakes were the better team to start the game:
“If you’d asked me at halftime we wouldn’t have taken a point. With the way the game was going, I though we were kind of leaning on them (Dallas) a little bit. As soon as you go down a man, obviously you think the odds are stacked against you.”
The Earthquakes honored Wondolowski before the match for becoming the ninth player in MLS history to score at least 100 goals. Earthquakes general manager John Doyle and president Dave Kaval presented the Danville native with a special plaque at midfield. Wondolowski was joined on the pitch his wife Lindsay, father John and daughter Emersyn. The 32-year-old striker scored hit the century mark on May 24, scoring on a penalty at neighboring Levi’s Stadium.