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New England Revolution

Michael Bradley defends Giovinco, wishes referee decisions weren’t so ‘black and white’

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley lamented the final minutes of his side’s 3-2 loss to the New England Revolution on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.

Teammate Sebastian Giovinco, who entered the match as a second-half substitute, converted an 89th-minute penalty to give Toronto some hope of coming back to draw level.

But that hope was dashed quickly when official Mark Geiger booked Giovinco with a straight red card for placing his hands on Revolution midfielder Wilfried Zahibo’s face as he ran back to midfield to restart play.

“Seba’s running back with the ball and the guy tries to swat it out of his hand,” Bradley explained after the game. “Seba is frustrated because there have been a few plays before that where he hasn’t gotten a call and he puts his hands up to the guy’s face.”

Geiger checked video review before ejecting Giovinco. Zahibo wouldn’t discuss the altercation in the Revolution locker room afterward.

Bradley, meanwhile, didn’t disagree that Giovinco deserved a red card but argued in favor of referees officiating games by the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law.

“I think we all wish referees were allowed to have a little bit more feel for the game,” Bradley said. “Everything gets made so black and white for them by, in some cases FIFA or PRO.

“For me, the best referees are those that keep all that in mind but referee the game and have a feel for the moment and the passion that goes into the game.”

Giovinco went into Geiger’s book for violent conduct.

“The way the rule goes right now and the way things are reffed, that’s a red card,” Bradley said. “But there’s no animosity in what [Giovinco’s] doing . There’s no endangerment of the other player at that point.”

Regardless, Bradley was mostly disappointed with his side’s performance. They fell into a 2-0 hole seven minutes into the game off two bad giveaways, then gave up a third goal less than one minute in the second half.

“I’m certainly not blaming anything on the referee tonight, that’s for sure,” Bradley added. “We dug our own grave from the beginning and that’s that.”

 

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