Refs pulled 4 red cards in 4 minutes as a wrestling match unfolded in stoppage time of an opening-night NWSL game
As the game between Portland and Kansas City got more physical, two players were beaten and given red cards in the final minutes of the game. AP Photo / Amanda Loman
A fight almost broke out between Portland Thorns and Kansas City NWSL players.
During their NWSL Challenge Cup game on Friday, the game got more and more physical and dirtier.
A total of eight cards were dealt, including four red cards in the final four minutes of the game.
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The National Women's Soccer League season got off to a good start this weekend.
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The Portland Thorns and Kansas City NWSL played the nightcap on the opening day of the NWSL Challenge Cup 2021 on Friday. And when Kansas City pushed for an equalizer at the end of the second half, the game got more physical on both sides and tensions mounted.
Portland Thorns and Kansas City NWSL players quarrel at the end of a game. AP Photo / Amanda Loman
Then, as regulation slipped into downtime, the dam burst.
In the 90th minute of the competition, Portland striker Simone Charley and Kansas City defender Kate Del Fava both received yellow cards. Since Charley's was her second of the night, the penalties resulted in a red and automatic exclusion from the game.
After arguing the call from the sidelines with "abusive, abusive and abusive language and / or actions," according to Katelyn Best, women's soccer journalist, Thorn's head coach Mark Parsons received his own red card just a minute later.
Simone Charley receives her second yellow card of the game. Abbie Parr / Getty Images
Two minutes later, the soccer game turned into what appeared to be a wrestling match. Portland's Tyler Lussi dribbled for the corner flag to shield the ball and cut time, but Kansas City's Kristen Edmonds used her body to try to knock Lussi off the ball. Thorn forward Morgan Weaver came in to offer support to her teammate but when Lussi lost the ball, Weaver prevented Edmonds from chasing the ball behind him.
Edmonds reached around Weaver's waist and dragged her onto the lawn along the sideline. Then, as the duo got up, they collided while running in the field. Edmonds swung her left arm up as Weaver pushed her away, then Edmonds put her right hand directly into Weaver's face.
The two exchanged words from there, kicking each other in the face and moving as if they might be hit again before Weaver raised her hands and turned around. Players from both sides ran in to offer their teammates support, but the referee arrived right behind them to end the argument and show Weaver and Edmonds red cards.
With two more yellow cards dealt in the first half of the competition, the grudge game ended on Friday with a total of eight cards, including four red cards in the final four minutes of the competition. The Thorns won 2-1, but it cost them staff in the future.
The referee shows Kristen Edmonds of Kansas City a red card. Abbie Parr / Getty Images
The red cards cannot participate in their team's subsequent games which happen to match the Chicago Red Stars for both teams. But Portland owner Merritt Paulson tweeted shortly after the game that he intended to appeal the red card given to Weaver for "tackling rugby and then beating ... and keeping your composure".
He also reportedly shared security footage from Providence Park to help rid Weaver of guilt. You decide:
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