Jason Hernandez wasn’t totally without remorse for the off-the-ball foul on Teal Bunbury that earned him a straight red card in the 88th minute of San Jose’s 1-0 victory against Kansas City on Saturday.
It’s just that most of his remorse was for getting caught in the act.
Hernandez had taken exception to some of the physical play from the Wizards’ rookie, who’s listed at a solid 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds. Although the camera didn’t capture Hernandez apparently catching Bunbury with an upraised arm, the assistant referee did, and that was enough to earn the Quakes player an early trip to the showers.
“There’s a lot of things that go on [during a game] that I think a lot of people don’t see,” said Hernandez, who wouldn't describe the foul in detail. “He put [Quakes right back] Tim Ward down earlier in the half, got him a little bloodied, and I kind of thought he was trying to do the same to me.
"It was foolish on my part because I [was] the captain and I set the example, but it’s just kind of the heat of the moment kind of thing. It’s what happens in games all over the world and, unfortunately, I let it get the better of me. But maybe it’s a lesson learned.”
If so, it’s a costly class. When the league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy visit Buck Shaw Stadium this weekend, the Quakes will be without Hernandez, who stepped into the captaincy role after left back Ramiro Corrales went out with a knee sprain.
San Jose are still thin along the back line, especially in the middle after rookie Ike Opara broke his left foot. The team has already been forced to move Brandon McDonald from holding midfielder to his previous position of center back.
For the Galaxy match, the Quakes will presumably pair McDonald with Bobby Burling, who’s dealing with a bruised toe suffered two weeks ago on the upturned stud of Colorado’s Wells Thompson. Burling didn’t start against Kansas City, but came on in the 89th minute following Hernandez’s ejection and helped the Quakes kill off four minutes of injury time.
“I think ... the most disappointing part is that the Galaxy is always a big game for us,” Hernandez said. “I feel like I let my teammates down. But Bobby Burling has played a lot of minutes this year, and he’s more than capable to step in and be a big-time player back there.
“Hopefully, we’ll have another good week of training and the guys will cover for me a little bit.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed on Twitter at @sjquakes.