Major League Soccer’s disciplinary committee has a tough job.
And good for the league for further efforts in transparency on this one, for going out of its way not only to explain some choices here, but in recognizing that MLS fans are going to raise a curious brow over this one.
All that said, they just got it wrong.
In the video below, MLS executive vice president of competition Nelson Rodríguez explains about three big disciplinary decisions lately. One resulted in a two-game suspension to San Jose Earthquakes bad boy Steven Lenhart, a repeat offender who never met an opponent that he didn’t want to punch, kick, elbow or otherwise give a little bit of the business to.
In another one, Sporting Kansas City’s Paulo Nagamura was busted for being a brat; he got one game off.
And then there was Seattle striker Eddie Johnson, who tried to go all MMA on fallen Philadelphia Union man Antoine Hoppenot last week. No, Johnson did not make solid contact as he appeared to drive his knee toward Hoppenot’s face. But intent matters here, especially as we consider potential danger of knees meeting faces, and this should have been dealt with. Period.
Here’s Rodriguez attempting to explain the decisions, along with video of each incident.