Toronto FC fans awoke to some unfortunate (albeit expected) news Wednesday morning, as MLS have reported that the team's appeal of Justin Morrow's red card has been denied by an independent review panel.
The panel, consisting of one USSF representative, one CSA representative, and one PRO representative, have to vote unanimously that a referee- in this case Canadian official David Gantar, made a serious and obvious error in order to reverse the decision and repeal the player's suspension for the following match. While the results of the vote are not released by the league, with the PRO actively backing Dave Gantar's decision to issue the red card on their website, and even some TFC supporters acknowledging that the call could have gone either way (WTR's esteemed former manager being among those who saw the call as potentially justifiable at worst), the news should come as no shock to those who have followed the (arguably overblown) saga over the past week and a half.
Despite Toronto Sun columnist Kurtis Larson's best efforts, and both TFC coach Greg Vanney and the culprit himself defender Justin Morrow indicating their disagreement with the call in post-match interviews, the latter will be unable to suit up as the Reds visit Real Salt Lake in what will likely be a challenging away match this Sunday evening. With an already depleted back four due to various injuries, and missing two of three designated players from international call-ups, TFC will be hard-pressed to walk away from Rio Tinto Stadium with any sort of result.
While many fans will continue to dwell on the impact that Gantar's decision had on the match and keep insisting that the wrong call was made, it must be acknowledged that Morrow's tackle was born out of necessity, caused by poor play that largely characterized Toronto FC's performance in the first half. In the words of TFC captain Michael Bradley- "We put ourselves in a bad position [...] When our guy is running in like that and you put yourself in a position where the referee has to then make a call, it can go one of two ways. This time, it went the wrong way for us". Both the club itself, and fans alike, would do best to move on and forget the incident in Columbus, and focus efforts on the difficult task at hand in Utah- and of course, the 31 further matches yet to come.