It’s been a relatively quiet spring for Major League Soccer’s disciplinary committee. After last year’s active (and much-discussed) debut, the league’s council for retroactive punishment had relatively little to do this year, perhaps a sign that players were starting to adapt their behaviors. If your rough tackle has to get by a committee into addition to the match officials, perhaps you’ll find a way to clean up your act.
Last weekend, however, players decided to give the Disciplinary Committee some work, with four players earning suspensions from the D.C.:
- Mario De Luna had the most high-profile incident, shoving a ball boy late in Chivas USA’s 3-0 loss at Portland. As discussed here and elsewhere, the boy was actually in the right not to give the ball back to De Luna, not that that factored into this punishment. The ball boy could have been laughing in De Luna’s face, and if the Chivas defender lays hands on him, he’s going to get a suspension. Today’s was a one-game ban which, added to his yellow card accumulation suspension, means De Luna’s out until after Chivas’s May 25 visit to Colorado:
- Edson Buddle also picked up a one-game ban, now set to miss Colorado’s May 18 match against San Jose, after this frustration tackle on Tony Tchiani – the exact type of play this committee was assembled to discourage:
- Up in Vancouver, Johnny Leveron could have been sent off after this early tackle against Jose Villarreal – two legs, scissors, from behind, right in front of the official. And in that regard, Bruce Arena would be right to feel a bit aggrieved, as his team went on to lose at BC Place, 3-1. But after review, the `Caps defender will miss this weekend’s visit from Portland, set to serve a one-match ban:
- And finally, from this weekend in Montréal, where we may be seeing the Lenhart corollary coming into play. Last week, San Jose’s Steven Lenhart was banned after dragging his leg over an opponent’s head while going over a fallen man. This week, Real Salt Lake defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe gets a one-game suspension after his step over Marco Di Vaio ends with the Montréal attacker getting a leg to the head:
I love the language Major League Soccer uses for these last three incidents: “endangered the safety of his opponent.” It stresses a maxim that should never be far from a players’ minds: You are in part responsible for the safety of those around you. You’re not entitled to let competitive urges obscure the context of your actions. It’s a game, there are rules, none of which entitle you to risk another’s health.
Also of note, Commissioner Don Garber has reduced Marvin Chavez’s suspension from two games to one. The San Jose winger received a ban last week after his actions against Toronto FC, but with his punishment cut in half, Chavez is eligible to play this weekend against Colorado.
The U.S. Men’s National Team won’t have a busy schedule throughout the summer, but Dave Sarachan and his side will get a tiny taste of the World Cup in September.
[ MORE: Chivas’ Almeyda exhales after CCL title win ]
ESPN FC is reporting that the USMNT will likely face Brazil and Mexico — both of whom will travel to Russia in June — later this year, as the U.S. Soccer Federation is in the process of finalizing both friendlies.
The matches are set to be played during the September international window, which runs from Sept. 3 through Sept. 11.
Both fixtures will reportedly be played in the United States, although venues haven’t been determined yet.
The U.S. has already begun booking a slate of difficult matches to round out 2018, with England and Italy already confirmed opponents for the Yanks in November.
The Yanks are 1-17-0 all-time against Brazil in all competitions, while the U.S. hasn’t faced Mexico since its 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in June 2017 during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Roger Bennett talks with manager Jurgen Klopp
about revolutionizing Liverpool, his Greatest Show on Turf-esque offense, the loss of Philippe Coutinho
and how he keeps football in perspective.
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Two key midfielders earned new deals on Thursday, as two of the Eastern Conference’s recent successes helped solidify for their attacks for the next few years.
The Columbus Crew extended Designated Player attacker Federico Higuain through the 2019 MLS season.
Higuain has been with the Crew since 2012, when the Argentine joined the club from Colon de Santa Fe in his native country.
Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls extended Daniel Royer’s contract, as the Austrian winger in the midst of his third season with Jesse Marsch’s group.
Thus far, Royer has tallied 17 goals in all competitions for the Red Bulls, including 15 during the 2017 campaign, where the former Midtjylland player finished second on the team in goals behind Bradley Wright-Phillips.
A game of back-and-forth at the Emirates Stadium set up an enticing second leg in the UEFA Europa League semifinals, while a Ligue 1 side positioned itself well to move into the final.
[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]
Arsenal and Atletico Madrid settled for a 1-1 draw in London, as Antoine Griezmann’s late strike leveled the match for the Spanish side.
The Gunners looked on their way to a victory when Alexandre Lacazette‘s goal just beyond the hour mark put Arsene Wenger‘s men in front.
The result sets up a strong showdown for the two giants in a week’s time, although Arsenal will feel it left something on the table after racking up 26 shots (seven on target) on the day, particularly after Sime Vrsaljko was sent off after 10 minutes for the visitors when he picked up a second yellow card.
Meanwhile, Florian Thauvin and Clinton Njie gave Marseille a 2-0 win over Red Bull Leipzig, giving the French side the edge it sought out ahead of the competition finale.
The two clubs will meet again at Red Bull Arena Salzburg for the second leg.
Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Marseille 2-0 Red Bull Salzburg