ICYMI: Sophia Smith might have gotten the weirdest red card ever


You’ll be forgiven for missing this late last night, especially if you were on the east coast. As the game was winding down, Sophia Smith received her second yellow of the night and thus a red card, something none of us could’ve predicted.

What makes this moments even stranger (or funnier, depending on your humour) was that Smith had been substituted out of the game. With many people scratching their heads as to why referee Danielle Chesky brandished a red card at Smith, ION broadcast captured the moment that Smith hid the ball under the bench and was deemed to be trying to waste time by Chesky.

On one hand, this will go down in history as one of the funniest red cards to happen in the NWSL but on the other hand? Unless it’s overturned, Smith is now suspended for Portland’s next match, which is against rivals Seattle Reign FC. In the moment, this was a hilarious conclusion to a fascinating game but when clearer heads prevail, it may be seen as either a harsh punishment by the referee, or a moment of irrationality by Smith as she looked to help her team secure the win…..from the bench.

I’m not a Portland Thorns fan so I can’t begin to imagine how they feel about the red card when it happened, or how they will feel in the days leading up to the Thorns’ next match. I instead, have imagined how I would feel if that was a player on my team. I’d initially view the whole situation as bemusing but then it would register in my mind that my team’s best player is now unavailable to play against our rivals. Or maybe, I might place the blame at Chesky’s feet, thinking that the second yellow was uncalled for and a warning would’ve been enough. Either way, it’s not an ideal situation.

For now, and maybe for the next 24 hours, I’m going to find the conclusion of this Portland Thorns vs NC Courage match as another curious and hilarious moment in the NWSL. Depending on how things go against Seattle in a week’s time, my amusement may change to some criticism, towards Smith, Chesky or both over the entire situation. Football is a game that throws up moments of utter incredulity. Results usually determine whether those moments were worth seeing the funny side of it all, or whether we should’ve viewed them more critically in the moment. Until that game against Seattle is played, we’ll just chalk this moment as another #NWSLAfterDark flashpoint and mark it down in the history books.



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