Sounders FC

Another red card hangover for Sounders

They say you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger ... and, apparently, you don’t trespass into Tyrone Marshall’s area of the Seattle Sounders FC defense.

Columbus forward Steven Lenhart ignored the latter Saturday at Qwest Field, and things degenerated from there.

“I let him know this is my area and I’m going to dominate this area,” Marshall said. “And that was what it was, really. So, elbows were flying, and he’s throwing arms. It’s just one of those things where everyone was kind of heated in that moment and trying to win that position. It wasn’t much about I’m throwing an arm or he’s trying to grab on. We’re just fighting for position.”

After sorting out the arms and elbows with his assistant, referee Michael Kennedy showed Marshall a red card, which will keep him home this weekend when the Sounders travel to Carson, Calif., to face Chivas USA. Coach Sigi Schmid hinted Wednesday that Patrick Ianni would likely start in Marshall’s place.

Explaining the red card immediately after the game, Marshall said he is a competitor and that no competitor would allow himself to be pushed around without retaliation.

However, on Wednesday, Marshall said he wasn’t responding only for himself, but for the team.

“I think it’s trying to give the team an opportunity to win and not lose,” he said. “They are pressing, and we’re trying to make sure as defenders that the forwards don’t get the upper hand on us, so we have the proper position and all that good stuff. A lot of things come into play in that situation. Never, ever will I put myself in front of the team. It’s a team effort. If you’re not thinking about the team, it’s a different sport you should be playing, it should be tennis or golf or one of those things.”

Marshall is the fourth member of the Sounders to receive a red card in 11 games this season, joining goalkeeper Kasey Keller, forward Fredy Montero and defender James Marshall. All of the disqualifications have been costly.

When Keller was disqualified, the Sounders lost that game and the following game when he was suspended. They played to draws when Montero received his red card and the next game he missed. And Seattle played to a draw when Riley was ejected and the game he missed by suspension. Finally, they played to a draw Saturday against Columbus.

Allowing for one overlapping game – Riley’s red card came in the same game Montero was sitting out – that’s an 0-2-4 record in games playing shorthanded or with a starter serving his red-card suspension.

And now Marshall will serve his suspension at a particularly difficult time. Not only does Chivas have the best record in MLS, but the Sounders also will be without Osvaldo Alonso, a defensive central midfielder who often plays directly in front of Marshall or overlaps with him.

“You don’t want to lose people down the middle of the field, for sure,” Schmid said. “And obviously they earned those starting spots. But on the same token it’s an opportunity for somebody else. I think Patrick Ianni has played well in the games that he has come in to play. He started in this league before, so it’s a chance for him to put a stamp on it and say ‘I’m here, I’m ready and I’m willing to compete.’ ”

And while Schmid didn’t directly challenge Marshall’s assertion that competitors must respond to certain challenges, he implied that sometimes justice delayed need not be justice denied.

“The second action is the one who gets punished,” Schmid said. “So sometimes you got to be smart. You got to turn the other cheek. As a competitor … you can’t allow yourself to be dominated. But on the same token you get to pick and choose when you get to make your return statement. So, an immediate return statement is sometimes not the best return statement.”

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808