In a season full of strange stories, the strangest on-field story this season has to be the red card James Riley evidently earned following the Columbus Crew game last week which led to his suspension in the subsequent game against D.C. United. I asked the club for explanation about the red card, and they told me Saturday that they had to check, indicating the situation caught them off guard as well.
Following the game on Sunday, the team let me know that they were still investigating the matter, but it appeared that the red card was indeed given to Riley and it was for dissent to the referee. In her article following the D.C. match on the club's official website, Olivia Cervantes reported the following:
According to team representatives, Riley was issued a red card post-game in Columbus by referee Jorge Gonzalez near the locker rooms for dissent.
Ok, so that sheds a little light on the situation, but it still remains shrouded in mystery. I took another look at Riley's stats page on MLSsoccer.com, and he still has no red card listed. The stats on the club's website don't have a red card listed for Riley, either.
It isn't like statistics needing to be updated is the highest priority, but they represent basically the only source of statistics available to the public. If he got a red card, it should be listed, no?
Here's another wrinkle to the story. Following the crazy ending to the Monday Night Football game last night, Riley tweeted the following:
Incredible!?!?!?— James Riley (@JamesRiley7) September 25, 2012
Chivas USA beat writer Luis Bueno then chipped in with this response:
@jamesriley7 that was as bad of a call as the phantom red card you got :/— Luis Bueno (@RunnerLuis) September 25, 2012
And Riley tweeted this in direct response to Bueno's tweet:
@runnerluis I agree 100% .— James Riley (@JamesRiley7) September 25, 2012
Obviously, he didn't really elaborate on the red card, but the entire situation remains fishy. The fact is that Riley has served his suspension, so there's not a whole lot that can happen if the league discovers a mistake was made at this point, and I'm guessing we'll never hear much about this again. But this is a huge story in that the lack of transparency in this matter is mind-boggling. Riley may have warranted a red card after the match, but the word needs to get out so that the people who write about the team, as well as the team itself, can report the situation to fans. That categorically did not happen here, and that is a major problem.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!