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Clear As Mud: A breakdown of the brawl between Minnesota United and the Colorado Rapids

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Two red cards (issued in the fourteenth minute of stoppage time) and a fourth video review capped off the match.

Scuffle
Minnesota United vs Colorado Rapids on 10/13/2018
Tim C McLaughlin

Thanks to reddit user u/Meladroit40 who posted the full replay of the brawl.

The Major League Soccer barnstormer between the Colorado Rapids and Minnesota United, two of the worst teams in the Western Conference, ended in a unique fashion. After a clunky game that saw more VAR reviews (4) than goals (2), a bench-clearing brawl between the teams ensued.

Let’s dive in:

There’s Colorado’s second goal of the game. It comes late in stoppage time, and is a humiliating one. The Loons have already conceded a goal to one of the league’s worst offenses and had two of their own disallowed. This stings.

First, the celebration. Looks pretty typical, right? This is happening right in front of United’s bench though...

And here’s Tommy Smith, celebrating in his opponent’s technical area.

Smith receives a shove from a Minnesota substitute. Based on this photo, that substitute looks to be Miguel Ibarra, who left the game earlier with a slight injury and was in the same outfit.

The chaos is really flying now. We see what looks to be a shove in the middle there, but it looks like Harrison is spitting.

Heath put a statement out on Twitter after the game certifying that he did not actually spit:

A photo from Seth Steffenhagen, one of our photographers on the end line, shows a blast of water sent from a water bottle around this time in the brawl:

October 13, 2018 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - A melee erupts after Colorado scores a late goal in stoppage time and celebrates in front of the Loons' bench during the Minnesota United vs Colorado Rapids match at TCF Bank Stadium. 

(Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)
October 13, 2018 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - A melee erupts after Colorado scores a late goal in stoppage time and celebrates in front of the Loons’ bench during the Minnesota United vs Colorado Rapids match at TCF Bank Stadium. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

A Twitter user highlighted the water bottle in the initial shot, and multiple other users commented that they saw a water bottle squirt as well.

We cannot definitively say whether Heath spit or not, though this video clip shows an awful lot of liquid, more likely from a water bottle:

Look for the flash of red after the burst of water. We cannot say definitively whether Heath spit or not, however the presence of the water bottle seems to show that he did not.

UPDATE: Thanks to Twitter user @targaff for pointing this out. We see a hand clearly in the face of the Rapids’ Dillon Serna. It looks like that hand belongs to a Minnesota substitute, who could be Alexi Gomez, though we cannot tell for sure.

We switch angles here to check out what Brent Kallman (14) and Angelo Rodriguez (9), are up to. They appear to be sending Colorado players back toward their own bench.

The fan in the bottom right is onto something — he’s already signaling for VAR.

The fracas breaks into a few groups, and players begin to appeal the referee.

Here are the two team captains. Tim Howard, former USMNT star, and Darwin Quintero, Minnesota’s playmaking number 10, are having a chat that has Quintero pointing toward the goal area Howard came running over from.

Back in the octagon, it looks like Kallman is being held back by teammate and former Colorado player Eric Miller, though Miller also appears to be restraining Smith, who is in turn holding his arms aloft in a display of innocence.

The clock has hit triple digits.

Smith and his captain, Howard, discuss the situation.

The VAR review is starting...

And now the referee is watching the replay(s) for himself to determine the appropriate punishment.

While all this is happening, shouting can be heard on the press level, coming from the vicinity of the VAR booth.

The review comes to an end, and Smith receives a red card in the 90 + 14th minute. The red card strikes again, however...

A red card is shown to Harrison Heath, presumably for that spitting offense. Heath may just be an unused substitute, but he’s sent off.

His dad, manager Adrian Heath, looks exasperated.

Heath heads to the locker room, escorted by security personnel.

We close here with a final look at Smith, who is also headed for the locker room, but not before holding aloft a two and a zero with his hands, not-so-subtly reminding Loons supporters of the result.

The match ended moments after the game resumed.