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Referee Alan Kelly explains Gonzalez Pirez red card decision



Atlanta United appeared to be in great position to pull out three points in Montreal on Saturday. Up a goal and playing well heading into halftime, the Five Stripes were doing what was necessary to get a result despite missing several key members of their dynamic attacking quartet. That all came to a grinding halt in the third minute of first half stoppage time when Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was deemed to have fouled Matteo Mancosu in the box to deny an ‘obvious goal scoring opportunity’.

A penalty was awarded to Les Bleus for the incident and Atlanta’s all-important Argentinian defender was shown the club’s third red card in 5 12 games played this season. Even more so than Yamil Asad’s “elbowing” incident last weekend in Toronto, this decision was clouded in controversy.

Here’s a look at the incident:

Here’s Kelly’s official explanation as provided by Atlanta United’s official quote sheet:

“The red card was given for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. I saw an upper body foul in the penalty area, with no genuine attempt to play the ball.”

Opinions have varied on the play. Some claim it was a foul but not a penalty. Some say it a clear DOGSO situation and Kelly was justified in both of his decisions. And others, like Atlanta United’s color commentator Dan Gargan, say it’s just two players fairly going for the ball.

We’ll have our resident refereeing expert John Fuller break down the call next week, but for now what’s your take? After seeing the replay and Kelly’s explanation, what should have been done?


What should’ve been the call on LGP?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Red card and penalty
    (33 votes)
  • 45%
    Just a penalty
    (634 votes)
  • 52%
    No call or a dive
    (729 votes)
1396 votes total Vote Now