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Chris Kamrani
Chris Kamrani covers Real Salt Lake for the Tribune.

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League makes history by revoking red card shown in RSL game

Hey, remember that new process for appealing red cards in Major League Soccer?

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New England's Fernando Cardenas successfully appealed the red card he was shown in the Revolution's 2-1 loss at RSL on Saturday, meaning the card is rescinded and Cardenas won't have to pay a fine or serve a suspension. That's the first time that has happened in MLS history, except for cases of mistaken identity.

The league said a new independent panel — comprised of reps from U.S. Soccer, the Canadian Soccer Association and the new Professional Referee Organization — voted unanimously that referee David Gantar "made an obvious error in the disciplinary sanction" in ejecting Cardenas.

That's great news for players and coaches who wanted a way to appeal what they believed were clear and obvious mistakes that were not previously correctable.

But maybe not great news for Gantar.

The ref entered the RSL game having shown four red cards and awarded one penalty kick in just eight career games in MLS, and he had worked only one game since falling for the notorious Alvaro Saborio dive against San Jose last summer — Saborio was later fined and suspended for "embellishment" — improperly awarding a red card and a penalty that fueled a controversial 4-0 RSL victory.

The new appeal system allows teams to challenge calls, but there are sanctions in place for frivolous challenges. Still, GM Michael Burns said the Revs "disagreed with the call so vehemently that we felt we had no choice but to appeal. As the video confirmed and the review panel recognized, Fernando never made contact with the opposing player and his red card was correctly lifted."

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