Midfielder Ricardo Clark, one of the defending MLS champion Houston Dynamo's key players and a player with a bright future on the U.S. national team, was banned for nine games -- an MLS record -- and fined $10,000 after a violent kick on Guatemalan Carlos Ruiz during last Sunday's FC Dallas-Houston game.
Ruiz and Clark tangled as they went for a free kick in the 89th minute with Houston leading, 3-0. Clark violently kicked Ruiz, who was lying on the ground, in retaliation for Ruiz kneeing him in the back.
Clark will reportedly appeal the suspension through the MLS Players' Union. If upheld, Clark will miss the rest of the regular season, all of the 2007 playoffs and the beginning of the 2008 season.
The previous record suspension was six games -- handed to FC Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala in 2006, Andy Herron in 2005 and Swede Thomas Ravelli in 1998.