[MLS SPOTLIGHT]U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann did not take kindly to the news that his captain, Clint Dempsey, was handed an automatic two-game suspension and fined an undisclosed amount for hitting Toronto FC defender Mark Bloom in the crotch in last Saturday's nationally televised MLS game. The suspension handed down by MLS's disciplinary committee for what was adjudged to be violent conduct means Dempsey will miss the Sounders' next two scheduled games before the USA-Mexico friendly April 2 in Glendale, Ariz.
“It’s very disappointing to see Clint be the only person punished from this game. There is a foul against him in the sixth minute that should have been a red card. The persistent fouling continued throughout the game, and he’s getting punished for a reaction following all those fouls. Yes he made a mistake, but if opponents don’t get penalized for consistently fouling, it only encourages them to continue that approach. A two-game suspension for that moment seems very harsh, and it comes at a very bad time for us as it throws him out of a rhythm before the game against Mexico."
As he was turned away from the play, Dempsey lashed out at Bloom in an off-the-ball incident that was not whistled by the refereeing crew. Dempsey said he felt a hand on his back and was simply trying to smack it away.
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On the issue of the harshness of the suspension, MLS noted in its release announcing the weekly suspensions that prior to the start of the 2014 season the MLS board of governors approved policy such that any player receiving a red card for violent conduct or adjudged unanimously by the disciplinary committee to be an unequivocal red card for violent conduct will be automatically suspended for at least his next two regular-season or playoff games and receive a fine.
Other rulings handed down following matches on March 15-16:
The MLS disciplinary committee also has suspended Chicago Fire defender Lovel Palmer for two games and fined him an undisclosed amount after he fouled Portland Timbers forward Maximiliano Urruti in an incident in the 42nd minute of their game that only earned him a yellow card at the time but was also deemed to be an unequivocal red card for violent conduct.
(Both Dempsey and Palmer submitted appeals via the MLS Players Union, and in both cases, the Committee’s decisions were upheld.)
-- A third player -- New York Red Bulls defender Armando -- was suspended. The Spaniard received a one-game suspension and was fined an undisclosed amount for serious foul play against Colorado Rapids forward Deshorn Brown in the 29th minute of their game.
-- Montreal Impact midfielder Justin Mappwas fined an undisclosed amount for simulation in the 48th minute of the game against the Houston Dynamo.