Tuesday’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match between Seattle and Portland was a mess, one that ended with referees being escorted off the pitch by police and star attacker Clint Dempsey facing a lengthy ban for his encounter with referee Daniel Radford.
Radford was in the process of dealing out a second red card to Seattle when Dempsey slapped the book out of his hands, then tearing up the pages of the book and receiving the Sounders’ third red card. He could be suspended for three months if US Soccer considers it ref assault.
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It was petulant, and Sounders fans followed his lead, tossing plastic bottles at their Cascadian Cup rivals. Even classy manager Sigi Schmid has criticized himself for skipping out on a postmatch handshake.
How would Seattle’s ownership respond? Well, there are a lot of conditional statements and no apologies in a statement from Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer.
“We’re an extremely proud organization. Right below our logo, there are three words that say passion, courage and community. We believe that we embody those three words and that everything we do is a positive reflection on them.
“Tuesday evening, the passion piece maybe went a little bit overboard and was maybe directed in the wrong ways. That goes for players, coaches, staff, fans.”
“I think that the passion may have been misappropriated – from players, coaches, fans and staff.
“Now, we need to regroup. We’ve had lots of internal conversations. We will do whatever we need to collect information on fan misconduct and dole out appropriate punishments if those are necessary. We’ll deal with all of the rest internally.
“But I thought it was important to acknowledge that it wasn’t our proudest moment as the Sounders organization and we’re going to do better. We know that people are looking to the Sounders as the bellwether franchise in North America and we always need to be at the top of our game.”
So, to sum up, from Hanauer’s perspective: Seattle is the biggest club in Major League Soccer and he is willing to entertain the thought that perhaps they did something wrong.
Hanauer did try to put it on his shoulders in a quote I took out for brevity, as it didn’t reflect the tone of the piece, which I believe to be: The Sounders are still really ticked off with the way Tuesday’s match unfolded, and are looking forward to a bit of revenge come June 28 (even if it may be without Dempsey and certainly will lack Obafemi Martins).
If it makes Sounders fans feel better, Radford’s reputation is getting the twice-over from the Pacific Northwest. Welcome to the microscope, sir.