According to reporter Ives Galarcep, US Soccer will honor a one-match suspension for Jozy Altidore after he was sent off in the 68th minute of the 1-1 draw with Switzerland. The report has not yet been confirmed by US Soccer.
The 25-year-old was ejected from the match for swearing at match referee Luca Banti. At the time there was some confusion as to whether Altidore had been directly sent off via a straight red card or if he was shown two yellows in succession. Banti pulled his yellow card out of his pocket but never actually showed it to Altidore before he decided to red card the striker instead.
Officially, Altidore received two yellow cards, one for a tackle on Francios Moubandje and one for his reaction towards the referee. Had he received a straight red card, he could have been subject to an even longer suspension.
The decision by US Soccer is significant, because discipline from friendly matches are not always honored in following matches, but nonetheless rules are in place in the FIFA bylaws meant to hold players accountable for incidents even in friendlies. According to section 38, article 2 subsection g of FIFA’s bylaws, regarding carry-over for in-match discipline,
“Match suspensions in relation to an expulsion pronounced on a player outside of a competition or not served during the competition for which they were intended…are carried over to the representative team’s next friendly match.”
According to Galarcep, had the United States fielded Altidore in their matchday squad, they would be subjecting themselves to a fine and potentially a match forfeit for fielding an ineligible player should Mexico complain to FIFA. While the result of the friendly ultimately has little bearing on the immediate big picture, it does affect FIFA world rankings which eventually determines World Cup seeding.
Following the match, Altidore apologized immediately for his actions, saying in a statement through US Soccer, “I want to apologize to our fans and my teammates,” said Altidore in a statement. “Emotion got the best of me and I put our team in a tough position. That’s not the type of role model I want to be. All credit to the boys for grinding it out and earning a positive result.”
He then told Sports Illustrated back on Monday, “A lot of times as athletes in a lot of tough moments sometimes, we’re not perfect and there will be times when we lose our cool a bit … I’m not saying it’s an excuse, but we’re not perfect. In the end, everybody can learn from it, including myself, so hopefully it doesn’t happen again and it’s something I can learn from and move forward on.”