The double red card.
All too often we witness the provoked party receive punishment, rather than both provocateur and responding party, but referee Alejandro Mariscal, in conjunction with his linemen, made the right call after some contentious moments in the ICC's second match.
In the game's opening sequences, Club America were countering San Jose from a Quakes corner kick. Instead of letting Dario Benedetto run through his defence, Clarence Goodson elected to be cynical, and took a "professional foul," and in turn, a yellow card.
The collision, however, left Benedetto injured, as the forward twisted his ankle in ugly fashion, and the game took on a more aggressive tone after the incident. Both clubs were rather agitated with one another, and the pent-up frustration recklessly boiled over in the 45th minute.
Just before the half-time whistle, San Jose's Sanna Nyassi reacted strongly to an America challenge. The Earthquakes midfielder kicked out at Erik Pimentel, who was attempting to assist him in getting off the pitch. Paolo Goltz came over to defend his team-mate and escalated the situation, rather than defusing it.
Both Nyassi and Goltz were issued red cards by Mariscal, and the game, which was at 1-0 (thanks to 24th-minute Goodson header), was half compete.
While the situation itself was generally uninteresting, the response from the referee was out of the ordinary. The most common practice in incidents of violence is to locate the main culprit and eject them, not necessarily to find the reason or circumstance behind their actions.
In the end, the match's entertainment was not strongly affected by the double sending off.
America rallied from their one-goal deficit, and earned a 2-1 victory—receiving a 76th-minute equaliser from Andres Andrade and an 83rd-minute winner from Francisco Rivera.
What can be taken from Mariscal's refereeing is match officials should be more cognisant of why players do what they do. Players do not risk red cards for trivial reasons, there are usually mitigating factors to their actions and responses. Finding these reasons, and factoring them in the decision-making process should be standard practice around the globe, not just in pre-season matches in San Jose, California.
Moving into Club America's next match, they face defending International Champions Cup winners Manchester United on Friday in Seattle. It's doubtful any refereeing decision could save the Mexican outfit from Louis van Gaal's improving squad.
San Jose, after their exhibition duties, face California rivals Los Angeles Galaxy on Friday.
The MLS sides had conflicting results with Club America, and it should be intriguing to see which version of each club arrives at the StubHub Center.