Staggering Sporting KC game sees four red cards in stoppage time carnage

HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids | May 18, 2022
HIGHLIGHTS: Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids | May 18, 2022 / Major League Soccer

Here's some stats for Sporting KC and Colorado Rapids fans. One red card in a match happens, with about 20% of all games in professional football featuring a player getting their marching orders. Two in a game is much more rare, on a level closer to 2.5%.

Three over the course of 90 minutes? Maybe once in every 330 games. But four? Surely? Maybe once in every 2,500 games. That's five and a bit seasons of MLS play between games with four – four! – red cards.

Sporting KC and the Rapids didn't just share a rare four-red card game on Wednesday night, all four of those red cards were handed out in second half stoppage time. Four red cards. Eight minutes of play.

So what the hell happened at the ironically-named Children's Mercy Park? Quite a lot, as it happens.

Four players were sent off in stoppage time of Sporting KC 2-1 Colorado Rapids

Chasing the game at 2-1 down in the 91st minute, Auston Trusty, on loan from Arsenal, mistimed a challenge in his eagerness to kick-start his team's comeback. That earned him his second booking of the night, and the first red card of the chaos. There's your 'routine' red, the one that any game could have.

After that, things...devolved. With just over 95 minutes on the clock and reaching the intended end of stoppage time, KC's Daniel Salloi kicked out at the standing foot of Nicolas Mezquida as the latter was taking a quick free kick.

It was a stupid, petulant play with the game as good as wrapped up, but Salloi wasn't the man sent off. Instead it was Colorado's Lucas Esteves, for charging in and sending the Hungarian flying with a full-bodied barge in the back.

Salloi's teammate Andreu Fontas was given his own marching orders for retaliating to, erm, the original retaliation by grabbing Diego Rubio by the throat. Well, partly for doing it, partly for doing it directly in front of the referee, who was stood right in front of him. Seems like a fair red card, even if it's a completely brainless one.

The brawl wasn't quite at bench-clearing point by then, but more or less every player on the pitch was involved in some shoving and shouting. That went on for some minutes, before calming down enough for referee Drew Fischer to go over to the VAR screen and upgrade Salloi's original yellow card to a red.

What lessons can we learn from this ten minutes of madness? Is there anything we can take away and apply to future games, or in the rest of the season?

Yeah, probably nothing except the vague impression that wild things happen sometimes, and occasionally the 'that escalated quickly' meme from Anchorman is just about the only analysis you can apply to a game.