Major League Soccer’s disciplinary committee has issued its verdicts for the week.
The “standard stuff” was Kenny Mansally’s one-game suspension and undisclosed fine for a (pretty lame, chest-aimed) head butt last week in Real Salt Lake’s loss to D.C. United.
Also in that match, frustrated RSL striker Alvaro Saborio blew his Costa Rican stack on referee Sorin Stoica. MLS will take a little money for that one; again, the fine was undisclosed.
But here’s the one that will have all the MLS wonks among us buzzing: the first disciplinary committee shame finger pointed toward “Mass Confrontation.” (Aside: When I finally start my rock band, that’s what we’re calling it.)
(MORE: Mass confrontation is a complete embarrassment, and MLS is doing something about it)
From the league release: “… Sporting Kansas City were issued an official warning by the Disciplinary Committee ‘for a violation of the League’s mass confrontation policy’ in the 95th minute in their 2-1 loss against Toronto FC at Rogers Centre.”
The initiative to prevent these unbecoming little gang-ups is commendable and quite necessary, as Richard Farley spelled out in the PST piece linked above. But let’s not pretend that this isn’t tricky business. Somewhat subjective, too. And as we know, one man’s “subjective” can become another man’s “arbitrary” if MLS officials aren’t careful.
What’s worse, it could lead to cries of favoritism.
Here’s the incident that drew official league censure:
Now, look at another potential bit of mass confrontation business on which the league’s disciplinary committee chose not to act. It looks quite similar to me, as New York Red Bulls players surround referee Ricardo Salazar. Perhaps this one is just a little less aggressive. You decide …
High-flying left back Benjamin Mendy‘s Manchester City takeoff has been delayed by a thigh injury.
Pep Guardiola revealed Thursday that Mendy is doubtful for City’s Aug. 12 Premier League opener at Brighton and Hove Albion despite passing a medical to push through a $68 million move from Monaco.
Saying Mendy is “a little bit injured,” Guardiola said to expect an absence of two to three weeks.
[ MORE: LAFC hires Bob Bradley ]
The depth chart behind Mendy is incomplete, though City has added two right backs this offseason in Kyle Walker and Danilo.
The latter would be the front-runner to start in Mendy’s place, as he did in a 3-5-2 as Man City beat Real Madrid 4-1 on Wednesday.
Man City follows its opener at Brighton with a visit from Everton and a trip to Bournemouth.
Hard-nosed midfielder Rajda Nainggolan has been linked to Manchester United and Chelsea for some time, but Thursday linked up long-term with his present club.
Nainggolan, 29, signed a new deal with AS Roma through the 2020-21 season, putting the Belgian box-to-box mid at the heart of i Lupi‘s plans to chase down Juventus.
[ MORE: Chatting with De Rossi ]
Nainggolan has been in the last two Serie A Best XIs.
The 29-times capped Belgian has six goals for his national team, and has 255 Serie A appearances between Cagliari and Roma. Nainggolan has 31 goals and 18 assists in those matches, scooping 62 yellows and two send-offs but never being handed straight red.
While it’s a perceived blow for his Premier League suitors, it’s a welcome retention for Roma. He’s arguably the reason Roma was ready to part with Michael Bradley in 2014, and you can see why: He plays right up to the line but knows right where it lies.
ST. VEIT, Austria (AP) Local authorities in southern Austria have called off Sunday’s friendly match between Udinese and Hannover as the estimated number of spectators exceeds the capacity of the stadium.
The city of St. Veit says about 4,000 fans, including 280 potential football hooligans, were expected for the game at the ground of local amateur club FC Alpe Adria, which has a capacity of 2,430.
St. Veit mayor Gerhard Mock says “it’s a shame … but security comes first.”
It’s not immediately clear whether the match between the Italian and German top-flight teams can be moved to a larger venue. Both Udinese and Hannover are having their preseason training camps in the province of Carinthia.
Wayne Rooney will play his first competitive game for Everton in 13 years.
[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]
That storyline will dominate Everton’s return to Europe as they kick off their 2017-18 UEFA Europa League campaign in front of a packed house at Goodison Park on Thursday.
The Toffees welcome Slovakian side MFK Ruzomberok for the first leg of the third qualifying round as they aim to make it back to the group stage for the first time since 2014-15.
Click on the link above to follow not only Everton’s game but all of the Europa League qualifiers going on across Europe this afternoon with the likes of AC Milan, Fenerbache, PSV, Marseille and Athletic Bilbao all in action.
If Ronald Koeman‘s side successfully navigate their way past Ruzomberok then they will be in the play-off round which is the final hurdle before the group stage.