Check back tomorrow, but it looks like Clint Dempsey’s getting suspended


We posted about it on Saturday, but if Clint Dempsey really does get suspended for striking Mark Bloom in the groin, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. We’ve seen Major League Soccer exercise convenient discretion when penalizing its bigger names, something the likes of David Beckham, Robbie Keane, and Dempsey himself have benefitted from in the past. Even as I suggested the league’s Disciplinary Committee take a look at “Deuce’s” strike on Toronto’s right back, I didn’t expect anything to come of it.

After reports on Wednesday, if appears that the league is ready to hand the Seattle star a two-match suspension, and while the appeals process has to play out before the ban can be officially announced, Dempsey looks set to miss this weekend’s trip to Montréal.

In case you missed it, during Saturday’s visit from Toronto FC, the Seattle attacker struck Bloom in the groin with his right hand, something Dempsey described post-match as an inadvertent – an attempt to slap the defender’s hand off his back:

(MORE: Clint Dempsey takes out his frustrations on Toronto’s Mark Bloom)

Taking place away from the play, the incident wasn’t punished in real-time, and Toronto head coach Ryan Nelsen declined to ascribe anything malicious to it. Intentional or not, we see thousands of soccer games that don’t feature this kind of contact. Dempsey should have done more to avoid it.

On Wednesday, the Toronto Sun’s Kurtis Larson tweeted the first news of a possible Dempsey suspension:

MLS has yet to make the news official, but this early in the week, the appeals process is probably still playing out. When the Disciplinary Committee decides to act, MLS notifies the club but also provides time for an appeal. Dempsey and the union are likely pursuing that option.

With that in mind, Dempsey could still avoid a suspension. Perhaps he has information that augments the footage we’ve seen – an explanation the league could find convincing. The league could also reduce his punishment instead of eliminating it entirely.

Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, answering questions from the Seattle press corps, game us some insight into where the process stands. From The Seattle Times:

(Have you heard from the league, though?) “We know that it’s being looked at and they’re going to come to a decision, yeah.”

(Do you think his status will be resolved before you get on the plane tomorrow?) “We’ve asked for it to be resolved before it’s time to get on the place, yes.”

Seattle gets on that plane to Montréal on Thursday, the day suspensions and fines tend to be announced. Should Dempsey be asked to sit, it would be a slight surprise, given the benefit of the doubt the league’s given to so many other stars. Then again, it would be nice if players had some deterrent from hitting each other in the groin.

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.