Toronto FC may review its internal disciplinary policies in the wake of recent red cards to Chris Mavinga and Jozy Altidore.
"I think that's a possibility," coach Greg Vanney said Tuesday when asked about instituting supplementary team discipline for such missteps.
But Vanney said such a move would best be served if established at the start of a season rather than mid-stream.
"It's not something that we've really had to deal with in a big way and so it's never been a major priority," he said. "Maybe this is a moment where we think about it or at the end of the season it's maybe something that we need to think about.
"But I tend to want to trust our players, that they understand that people make mistakes and that's a part of life. But to learn from the mistakes and we need to move on as a group and prepare for the next.
"Look, it's not to say it hasn't been discussed or talked about behind closed doors and with the appropriate guys along the way. We try to manage as many things in-house as we can and that's the way we believe it (should be)."
Mavinga was red-carded after the final whistle of Toronto's 2-2 tie in Atlanta on Aug. 4 when he struck Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, a blow that earned him a two-match suspension.
Altidore was ejected after kicking out at defender Alexander Callens in the ninth minute of a 3-2 loss Sunday to visiting New York City FC. The two had tangled earlier. A frustrated Altidore also had been bodied down earlier in the game without a foul being called.
Vanney said he did not expect the league to add to Altidore's automatic one-game ban for the red card.
"I think it was more nonsensical than it was dangerous, I guess," said Vanney, who was sent off just once in his playing career.
With 37 yellow cards and three red cards this season, Toronto is nowhere near the top of MLS's team naughty list (Colorado leads the yellow count with 67 while Vancouver has seen the most red at seven). But Toronto (6-21-5) cannot afford to lose key players like Mavinga and Altidore in its bid to climb the table.
"It's a concern for me generally when guys are getting caught up in things that don't matter, because we don't have time for things that don't matter," Vanney said after Sunday's loss. "We have to get points, we have to get results. That's about discipline.
"It was Chris after the game last week. These things are just so irrelevant in our mission to try to get back ourselves into the playoffs. Across the board, for everybody it's just unnecessary and all it does is undo our ability to take steps forwards."
Added veteran defender Drew Moor: "We all know, the individuals know, that it can't happen. We're fighting for a playoff spot right now and we need all hands on deck."
While Toronto prides itself on its professionalism and experience both in MLS and elsewhere, it is a team that has shown in the past that it can be wound up. Star striker Italian Giovinco (18 yellows and one red in his 117-game league and playoff career with TFC) is a pint-sized Mount Vesuvius waiting to blow, albeit one who often has a legitimate beef given the rough treatment he gets from much larger opponents.
With four red cards and 18 yellows in his four-year, 93-game TFC career, including the playoffs, the beefy Altidore is also hardly a serial offender. A huge booster of his teammates, his heart beats strong in the TFC dressing room.
But on the field, his refusal to back down can occasionally be costly (witness the tunnel melee with the New York Red Bulls in last season's playoffs).
Altidore, no fan of speaking about himself, offered little explanation when he met the media Tuesday other than he thought he had been fouled by Callens before the incident.
"Either way I can't do that," he said, referring to lashing out with his boot. "And that's it. So you learn from it and you move on."
Captain Michael Bradley, yet to see a red card in 169 career MLS games, lamented the team's lapses.
"We're at a point where the margin for error is very very small. Error includes mistakes, indiscipline — all of the above," he said after Sunday's game. "Yeah, when you play big games when you play against good teams, you can't afford too many of those types of plays.
"Not just in the last week or two but when you look at the season at a whole, we've killed ourselves in too many moments."
Both Altidore and Mavinga will be available for Wednesday's second leg of the Canadian Championship against visiting Vancouver. The first leg ended in a 2-2 tie. Their suspensions only cover league play.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press