Two yellow cards issued in Sunday's 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City left Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath puzzled.
Loons captain and defensive midfielder Ozzie Alonso received one in the 72nd minute that suspends him for Sunday's season finale at L.A. Galaxy. The second came in the 85th minute when Sporting Kansas City's Amadou Dia's hard slide knocked Emanuel Reynoso flat on the field near his team bench's sideline. Alonso ran into Sporting K.C. midfielder Gadi Kinda from behind, tripping him near midfield, It was a costly yellow-card accumulation for him.
Dia came from afar and slid right through Reynoso's right leg, leaving him writhing on the field while the referee, linesmen and video review officials consulted and determined it not worthy of a red card.
"I said this before, I don't know what a good or bad foul is anymore," Heath said. "Ozzie gets the yellow card same as (Dia) does, for running into the back of somebody? To say I was worried (about Reynoso) would be an understatement. The referee was right there. The linesman was there, fourth official, obviously somebody upstairs who didn't think it was a bad tackle."
Alonso now won't play next week in L.A. because of too many yellow cards. That likely leaves young and versatile Hassani Dotson as the starter alongside Wil Trapp in midfield.
"The way Ozzie's been playing, it's going to be a huge miss," Heath said. "He has been incredible the last six, seven weeks; the level of performance and drive. I said to some of the younger guys, if you're going to emulate any football in MLS, don't look any further than your captain. He just epitomizes and shows everything that's good about what modern-day football is."
Dotson subbed into Sunday's game for Reynoso in the 90th minute.
Reynoso said he's fine after Dia's dangerous slide knocked him hard to the turf.
"It was a hard tackle where, thank God, it didn't end badly," Reynoso said. "But yes, I believe it was a bad tackle, where I think the referee should have made another decision. But it's fine. It's the decisions they have to make and we have to respect that."
Backs are back
The Loons' only change to their 11 was Chase Gasper's return to left back, after he served a one-game suspension in Vancouver on Wednesday for yellow-card accumulation.
It was the first time in four games that both Gasper on the left side and Romain Metanire on the right side started together because of suspension or Metanire's international duty.
Sporting KC played without injured star striker Alan Pulido.
Up and at 'em
Sunday's game was a rare noon start for ESPN.
"It's not ideal," Heath said. "I don't think anybody enjoys it, apart from the TV maybe. But certainly players and coaches prefer late afternoon and evening games. You're not really awake, you're having your pre-match at 7:30 in the morning. It's not the same, but it's the same for both teams."
ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman came as former Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton for Halloween on Sunday and wore a purple No. 10 jersey and Vikings helmet and eye-black for on-camera spots during the game. Loons defender Michael Boxall's young son came as Baby Yoda.