U.S. Soccer issues statement on U.S. Open Cup incidents; Will Dempsey’s punishment include Gold Cup?

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Clint Dempsey’s fate is in the hands of Major League Soccer.

That’s the main thing to take away from Friday’s statement on USSoccer.com, and it’s also pretty clear Dempsey faces a ban from future Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup appearances, too.

[ MORE: Sounders owner on incidents: “Maybe overboard” ]

Dempsey slapped referee Daniel Radford’s book out of his hands during a 3-1 loss to Portland on Tuesday night in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup, and then proceeded to tear up the pages of that book.

He earned a red card for that, and then needed to be held back from Radford by players from both teams. It’s the sort of thing that would land a lesser player in loads of trouble, and Major League Soccer’s response to his incident will be an example to players, one way or another.

From USSoccer.com:

At this point, the Panel has gathered evidence, including the report of the referee and the Match Commissioner, video of the incident, as is currently conducting interviews with the relevant parties. Any decision made by the Panel on further sanctioning will pertain only to future Open Cup tournament competition.

In addition, per the U.S. Soccer Policy Manual, any incident of alleged Referee Assault or Abuse by a professional player during a Professional League Member activity is governed by the Professional Leagues Policy Against Referee Assault as outlined in Policy 202(1)(H)-2.

In this instance, MLS has jurisdiction and is reviewing the incident as required by U.S. Soccer policy.

Under the policy, should the League suspend the player from competition with his club, the player would not be eligible to compete in any soccer competition while serving that suspension.

That last part is just as tricky as it sounds, as it isn’t entirely clear but reads like a suspension would count for international play. Could an MLS suspension keep Dempsey from this summer’s Gold Cup? Luis Suarez’s bite earned him a four-month ban from both club and country, but that came directly from FIFA.

Simply guessing here, but we think he gets banned from next year’s Open Cup, a month of MLS (whether it includes the time he could miss for Gold Cup is interesting), and perhaps one USMNT game (conveniently up next: a friendly with Guatemala).

MLS needs to tread carefully here. On one hand, Dempsey’s punk move wasn’t going to hurt anyone, but given some of the horrible stories of ref abuse we’ve seen — including the tragic death of referee John Bieniewicz in Michigan — it’s important to keep a no-nonsense standard and protect the official (regardless of your opinion on their work).

How long will he get? What do you think?

MLS Best XI unveiled with awesome foosball video

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Major League Soccer, wow, this is terrific #content.

MLS released its Best XI on Monday with a dynamite video of the players passing the ball from Zack Steffen in goal to Josef Martinez up top… via a virtual foosball table.

[ VIDEO: An unprecedented goal ]

The XI is set in a 3-4-3, with the New York Red Bulls, DC United, and Atlanta United leading the way with a pair of players each.

My predictions? Well, I only got six correct. Whoops. The only absence that really surprises me is Graham Zusi, and Sporting KC not having representation at all. I guess that explains why SKC manager Peter Vermes is going to be announced as the next USMNT– Wait, what’s that? Oh. I’ll stop talking.

2018 MLS Best XI

Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus)

Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (RBNY), Aaron Long (RBNY), Chad Marshall (Seattle)

Midfielders: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta), Luciano Acosta (DC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal), Carlos Vela (LAFC)

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy), Josef Martinez (Atlanta), Wayne Rooney (DC)

WATCH: Striker scores potentially unprecedented goal while helping teammate

Photo by John Thys/EuroFootball/Getty Images
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“Look, I know you’re injured, but I’m gonna be right back. Got a goal to score for us.”

Maccabi Petah Tikva forward Habib Habibou scored what can only be described as an unprecedented goal — at least in terms of being captured on video — Israel this weekend.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Habibou, 31, and his club were locked in scoreless tussle with Maccabi Netanya on Saturday when one of his teammates was injured in the box.

The CAR striker, formerly of Zulte Waregem and Royal Charleroi, was taking care of said teammate when he spotted an 87th minute spilled rebound.

What was he gonna do, really, other than dart onto the loose ball, score the match-winner, and then return to his ailing mate?

Petah Tikva won 1-0.

Juventus executive: Bring season Serie A game abroad

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
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Juventus chief revenue officer Giorgio Ricci likes La Liga’s idea of taking a regular season match outside of its domestic borders.

Ricci would like Serie A to explore a similar move, saying Italian soccer can only benefit from putting its brand in other markets.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Serie A lags behind other top European league in TV money, which has hindered its ability to recruit top end talent relative to its competitors.

Ricci says if American sports see value in bringing their top leagues to Europe, it holds that the reverse would be true. From the BBC:

“If we look at some other more developed leagues in terms of commercial strategy; the NBA and NFL, they are exporting one or two of their matches abroad, to the UK or elsewhere in Europe. I think it is a good strategy. It is a way to export something that is not an exhibition.”

Would a regular season match bring any more eyes or attention than the International Champions Cup, at least enough to offset the sacrifice of atmosphere? It seems doubtful, but the money is the key here. Italy wants to catch up with Spain, Germany, and England.

FC Cincinnati switches crest ahead of MLS debut

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FC Cincinnati has unveiled its crest for 2019’s maiden voyage in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings ]

Sticking with the orange and blue color combination which has served them since inception, the shield has FC in the top left corner, Cincinnati running diagonally left-to-right in blue script on white, and a winged lion holding a sword as the primary icon.

FCC will draft up to five current MLS players in the Expansion Draft on Dec. 11. Teams will announce their protected lists on Dec. 10.

Cincinnati will play in the Eastern Conference. It won the USL regular season championship under coach Alan Koch in 2018.