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Klinsmann disappointed in Dempsey's 'harsh' suspension
by Paul Kennedy, March 21st, 2014 5:51PM

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TAGS:  men's national team, mls, seattle sounders

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[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.

Klinsmann's statement:

“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 Mapp was fined an undisclosed amount for simulation in the 48th minute of the game against the Houston Dynamo.


13 comments
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: March 21, 2014 at 11:51 p.m.
    Two game suspension for an inadvertent flick to the nards? Meanwhile, horrendous tackles go unpunished every week? Perhaps the league should focus on protecting the skill players instead of this nonsense.

  1. Brent Crossland
    commented on: March 22, 2014 at 7:46 a.m.
    Persistent Infringement is one of the infractions that MLS has always ignored. And I agree -- frequently you see nasty tackles and contact long after the ball is gone totally ignored by the referees. MLS will never be a first tier league until creative players are rewarded for creative play -- not punished.

  1. Eric in DC
    commented on: March 22, 2014 at 8:40 a.m.
    Agree with the 2 comments above. About Deuce specifically, all I'm saying is that when he's playing, the ball isn't the only kicking target. Dempsey gets mugged repeatedly, game after game and after game. So while the suspension may/may not be fair, MLS needs to do a better job of coming down on this sort of play.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: March 22, 2014 at 9:12 a.m.
    So... NO TV review to correct problems with the actual game, but they review TV footage to punish player fouls not caught by the referee ? Soccer is the worst officiated game.

  1. Margaret Manning
    commented on: March 22, 2014 at 9:53 a.m.
    What Klinsy said. Deuce gets hacked nonstop and he ultimately swats a guy behind him--not even looking at him--and HE gets punished? Was there no tape of the red card foul on Dempsey? TFC should have been down two players and a PK if the DC wanted to re-call the game based on video.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: March 22, 2014 at 10:02 a.m.
    Dempsey was responsible for two cardable fouls off the ball during the game. They showed them (over and over) on TV and the commentators discussed his possible punishments. If you ever played soccer, you know that it's almost always the player who retaliates that gets caught. I'm sure Clint knows that. I know he knows better than to strike out, which he did, apparently, in frustration. He has players hanging all over him all the time; he gets flattened by opposing players over and over again. He's been one of my favorite players for years, so I was very disappointed to see him foul the other players. BUT, if you're part of the disciplinary committee...who better to punish for breaking one of the rules incorporated this year than Clint Dempsey? He's a high profile player and this has gotten everybody's attention. If they suspend HIM for this infraction, they'll suspend anybody! Klinsman is dissapointed, but he puts Jermaine Jones on the field without hesitation and that man's a walking red card...the kind of player who would foul Dempsey without hesitation. If you sanction players like that, then you can't really complain when they target your forwards or midfielders. That said, my kids were both referees and I sat through some of the certification classes with them. They were told that their primary responsibility was the safety of the players. I've watched EPL referees pull a player aside and talk to him, rather than giving a card. What for? Surely, this professional player knows the rules of the game by this point in his career? Is he telling the player, "I'm watching you,"? That's his job!!! To watch ALL the players! Now I've seen some MLS refs "talking" to the players rather than carding them. I suggest the disciplinary committee review the referees each week and suspend them if they continue to allow all of these flagrant fouls. We have to make the referees responsible for their lack of calls and continue to hold the players responsible for their infractions.

  1. Kraig Richard
    commented on: March 22, 2014 at 10:55 a.m.
    Vermont has 3 capable refs and two of them are recent immigrants who played in Europe.. Jurgen is dreaming if he thinks America is going to have refs capable of protecting players from junior high school to MLS . American style "boys will be boys...play on" and our norm of not handing out cards and having to put up with flagrant "assault" is a curse our society inflicts on players in direct proportion to their skill. Refs find amusement, glee, or perhaps deriving some sort of unadmitted sado-satisfaction at events in their charge. Until they stop worrying about "Hurting the Complexion" of play and start going to their pockets for something other than playing pool our best players will continue to absorb those worse repercussions of Ref-Inaction. All they have to do is start managing games with cautions, handing out cards with increased frequency, and removing troublesome players from the pitch. Eventually players will get the idea..."There's a new Sheriff in town" One player can get a card for persistent, a team should get one for fouling the same player all game long. US soccer will continue to suck till we get some good cops. This ain't hockey. Our kids deserve adequate protection as what they'd get in Europe. Michelle Obama should champion a US Visa program for qualified officials if she wants to go down in history as the greatest soccer mom ever.

  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: March 22, 2014 at 12:31 p.m.
    I'm sorry but Clint didn't "Accidentally" do anything... he did this "off the ball" precisely because he thought he could get away with it. This isn't the first time he has gotten chippy with an opponent, just go back to the Ukraine match... no he got away with this during the game just as he did then and maybe it was a matter of having less experienced officials working the match, but he was intentional in his action and that is just what it is here. Now he was brought back to the League for a great deal of money and he just hasn't played well for better than a year and clearly THAT is effecting his play and making him more prone to retaliate... if he was regularly scoring, I'm certain he would be less belligerent. But clearly MLS has many "worker bees" who lack the skills but have the desire and that often seems to lead to fouling as a matter of course, it is the refuge of more ordinary player and that simply is what it is... and isn't likely to change anytime soon. ... (ICE)

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: March 22, 2014 at 1:15 p.m.
    Persistent fouling in the MLS is hardly ever punished and if it is, it's usually well after the first three fouls; and let's not forget the 'team persistent fouling' which happens to be an unknown factor in MLS. Playing the man with the so-called professional foul is a cardable offense, and rarely enforced thanks to MLS misconceptions which enable thuggery. Its corps of referees take instructions from the Head of Referees who appears to be delinquent in promoting the rules of the game in a balanced way.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: March 22, 2014 at 4:11 p.m.
    No surprise here with a league that models itself after the EPL where thuggery goes on all the time.

  1. Frank Cardone
    commented on: March 22, 2014 at 8:50 p.m.
    CD acted poorly and deserves to be punished. The bigger problem is violent paly and lenient referees. MLS, and soccer in general, will NEVER attain widespread support by the American public to our sport unless the powers that be clamp down on violent play, unsportsmanlike conduct, and diving. MLS - What are you waiting for? Protect the few, highly-skilled players that we enjoy watching and harshly punish players who endanger the livelihood and health of their opponents. These players will not be missed. Do all of us a favor and send then away.

  1. Kelly Ross
    commented on: March 24, 2014 at 7:13 p.m.
    I don't wish to presume what was fair or unfair of the type of play allowed by the officiating crew. My point is always, "accountability" and "personal responsibility" of a player. Dempsey, as it has been proposed, was believing he was being targeted by FC Toronto, suffering multiple fouls, CHOSE to take matters into his own hands to "protect himself". A wise one once said, "You live by the choices you make in life." "Don't do the crime if you don't want to do the time." IMHO, the punishment is just and fair, as Dempsey opted to commit the offense off the ball and, unsighted by the officiating crew. Alas, the camera's eye misses very little. Our National Team coach should promote the message of holding our national team players to a higher standard; not to excuse their behavior, but rather remain silent and focus on preparing a team and which players will represent our country this summer in the most difficult group of the tournament, in the most spectacular sporting event in the entire world.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: March 25, 2014 at 10:23 a.m.
    Coach should be more disappointed in his performances.


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