Saborio suspended, fined for dive

Saborio (ISiphotos)

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In the aftermath of Charlie Davies' dive that earned a penalty against Real Salt Lake earlier this season, Major League Soccer's discipline committee promised further punishment for future offenders.

Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio found that out first-hand on Friday, as the league suspended him one game and fined him $1,000 for his dive last weekend against the San Jose Earthquakes that deceived referee David Gantar, who called a penalty and gave a red card to Bobby Burling. As a result, Saborio will miss RSL's match against the Columbus Crew this weekend.

"As previously stated, all instances of obvious simulation and/or embellishment that directly impact the game will be subject to severe discipline, including fine, suspension or both," MLS Executive Vice President Nelson Rodriguez said in a statement. "We will continue to impose sanctions, and even increase their level, if necessary, in an attempt to eliminate this type of behavior."

San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch was also punished by the discipline committee, getting fined $500 for making an obscene gesture in the same match.

What do you think of the punishment? Happy to see the league take action?

Share your thoughts below.

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64 Responses to Saborio suspended, fined for dive

  1. JGIB says:

    Making it up as they go

  2. CplDaniel says:

    A successful dive, leading to a PK and a red card??? I’d suspend him for 6-months! Ok, half a league season and any tournaments within the federation.

  3. cabrito says:

    So, is Burlin’g’s red card being rescinded?

  4. ShaggyReAL says:

    I find it extremely funny they mentioned diving/simulation before the season started but allows a select few to get away with it multiple times.

    I really hope Jason Kreis comes out and defends Saborio. 1st time offense and a suspension. Just wow.

    Be consistent MLS.

  5. Mikey says:

    This is a good move. Yellow cards alone are not enough to deter players from trying. Suspensions and fines will get their attention.

    We don’t want the MLS to be a diving league.

  6. Jeremy says:

    Defend Saborio? Are you crazy? There is no place in the game for that type of crap and no coach in their right mind would defend that garbage.

  7. Mikey says:

    There doesn’t have to be precedent when you’re changing policy. That’s usually why you’re changing it.

  8. Mikey says:

    If we’re being fair, this should happen too

  9. Jeremy says:

    Agreed. MLS is fine with making it up as they go, but if you are going to suspend and fine a guy for such a blatant dive, then they need to make things right for Burling.

  10. John Shields says:

    This is FANTASTIC! The biggest black eye on this sport in America is the diving. If these guys can cut that out, and maybe learn to take a hit instead of whining like little babies when they get nudged, they make be able to make some better salaries.
    It’s embarrassing to watch at any level and in any league (Serie A is unwatchable). So any steps to remove it from the game are welcome.

    Keep it up, MLS!

  11. Raffi says:

    Great decision and appropriate penalties given out.

    For those complaining about consistency – the league already said they were going to up the ante on the penalties after the Davies incident. Good for the league.

    While I don’t want them to go overboard, I think a 1 or 2 game suspension is totally appropriate. I wouldn’t mind seeing the team fined in addition to the player, as well.

    Diving does not *have* to be part of the game. I think MLS is getting this one right.

  12. Thomas513 says:

    I love the people bashing this move. What a joke.

    Fact is, with the Davies fine and this suspension, MLS is out in front on an issue that plagues the game worldwide. Is it unprecedented? Perhaps. Does that mean the league should not rachet up the punishment to eliminate the behavior? Of course not. If MLS keeps giving suspensions, the behavior will stop, at least in our league.

  13. T says:

    Serie A sucks….

  14. KevDC says:

    Bravo, MLS! Maybe FIFA will follow your lead (but don’t hold your breath).

  15. Mikey says:

    FIFA doesn’t even follow their own lead

  16. CSD says:

    The referee needs to be suspended and fined also for not talking to his assistant prior to making the call. Tough guy wanta be, sure did look menacing when he pulled that red card out all fast.

  17. GolazoEnergy says:

    It’s great to see MLS hand out a substantial punishment to deter future dives (hopefully it works). It’s a commendable step which should be replicated by other leagues…it could be the only way to end the worldwide diving plague.

  18. Romls says:

    I have to agree. This is setting a dangerous precedent and opening a can of worms. Simulation and embellishment happen in every match. How are they going to decide who to pushish? Who’s going to decide what “impacts” the game. Sometimes the player rolling around on the ground faking an injury has just as much of an impact on the game as a dive in the penalty box. It impacts the referee and affects his future decisions, sometimes it impacts the game through cards that are handed out, and it affects the way the player who committed the foul plays the rest of the match.

    While I don’t condone Saborio’s embellishment, I don’t think an infraction that warrants a caution on the field should lead to a suspension after the game. If they really want to clean things up, the punishment must come on the field, through cautions for all embellishment. As that starts to happen, players will take notice and think before they do something stupid.

  19. Neruda says:

    Absurd bordering on comical. Follow this line of reasoning and Brian Mullan would be banned from MLS for life for his leg shattering kick on Zakuani.

  20. Romls says:

    It won’t work, especially when they are only willing to punish the players who aren’t “stars” in the league.

  21. Emerald_City_Jason says:

    Yup, and it’s effing fantastic. I want a league that addresses egregious problems quickly and decisively, instead of letting a rules subcommittee debate the question for two or three off-seasons (hello, NFL). Don’t make us put up with this garbage one game longer.

    They announced after the Davies incident they were going after diving more aggressively, and they’re doing so. For a change, other leagues around the world should take note and follow MLS’ lead.

    Kudos to Garber &co.

  22. sam says:

    Bull $h*t, attacking players get their legs broken, one goes down, possibly contact, possibly not, and he get suspended??

  23. Fair Play says:

    Teams should be able to “protest” a dive(like calling for a review in the NFL) and MLS should review and rule within 48 hours. If found to be a dive – rescind any red card given, rescind any goal gotten (possibly changing the outcome of the game) and impose a two-game ban for the diver.

    That should clean things up.

  24. Larth Gagerway says:

    Why wasn’t Davies suspended? His dive was more egregious…and it wasn’t his first.

  25. Skinnyj says:

    Major Lame Soccer. They screwed it up by not coming down with the same punishment for C. Divies a month ago. This behavior of rule enforcing and creation shows the incompetence at the highest level of the league. Hell, try that in court, or even with your kids, what a joke. Charlie should have been suspended for his dive which took 2 points from RSL. For sure the league office was gripping because the next instance of diving came from the same team that got robbed initially, oh the irony!
    People, also remember that for guys that come from Latin America, these players have played their whole lives like this, so it’s probably more of a reactionary move than a blatant cheat. It’s pretty much in their DNA. Sabo anticipated contact and fell down, his bad. The refs bad for calling the foul AND pulling out a red. A similar play happened in the 3rd minute the previous game with RSL vs. NE, Borchers got a red and the Revs got a PK on a no-foul call. Why the haste judgement on the red??? We all know the officiating is not good enough, but some commentary from the league would be appreciated.
    I DO like the rule though, and I give them props for following through on their threat. Hopefully the suspension won’t hurt us against Cbus this week.

  26. KevDC says:

    Which league are you watching, Romls? Charlie Davis isn’t a star?

    If you think this “won’t work” what do you propose? Or do you not think diving is a problem.

    I am thrilled to see MLS taking bold action on this disgraceful part of the sport.

  27. BrocolliRob says:

    I still find the biggest problem with this whole situation to be that Sabo is punished because of the incompetence of the ref. If the ref would’ve made the right call then Sabo would only have received a yellow and Burling(who seems to be the main selling point for the suspension of Sabo) would not have received the red card and subsequent suspension. David Gantar essentially handicapped two teams for their upcoming matches and stole the possibility of a point from SJ. MLS “making an example” of Sabo just makes the league look impotent when they can’t even correct the glaring problem of poor officiating not to mention their reticence in punishing so called “stars.” They can no longer blame the officiating on the CONCACAF region and the fact that they’re assigned to the league by FIFA. Garber should be working on some system of probation where he can ask FIFA not to assign certain refs for a period of time after they butcher a game.

  28. Romls says:

    You’re kidding, KevDC, right? Davies is a star or celebrity in the soccer world in the USA because of his national team appearances and his recovery from his injury. As I said earlier, the problem needs to be handled on the field by stricter enforcement of the rules of the game for simulation or diving.

  29. Matt (NEF) says:

    I like that MLS is willing to make changes to help improve our league. I have real misgivings about this punishment for diving though.

    Will it make foreign players think twice about playing in MLS. The majority of domestic players have no choice but to play in MLS?

    Unfortunately, diving is an accepted tactic in world football and I dont think MLS is a strong enough league yet to take such a stand.

  30. Matt (NEF) says:

    My punctuation sucks!

  31. Dlewis says:

    Not really.

  32. Max says:

    he should have been….worthless hack

  33. MB says:

    I don’t understand how something that would be only a yellow card if the ref or sideline official got the call right during the game now turns into a suspension and fine. It’s the refs that will kill this league, not the diving. To be clear, I HATE DIVING. The reality is it happens in every league, but better officiating helps those leagues to thrive. Officiating in MLS is killing the on field product plain and simple. Then to make up for poor officiating, the MLS takes it out on the players even further. I don’t think I have watched a game this year where there wasn’t at least one gift goal by an awful call from an official. PLEASE MLS DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE CRAP OFFICIATING!!! Just a shame that they are probably planning to fund better officiating on the backs of fined players who hardly make a living as it is. Shameful. The league is putting the game in disrepute!

  34. KevDC says:

    Kidding? Uh, no. Regardless of WHY Davies is a star, he is (even if his form is not top level right now, and maybe ever again).

    It and been proven over and over that the refs can not or will not enforce discipline on diving “on the field”. This will only be reigned in by after the fact enforcement. MLS is 100% right on this, and world football should go this way, too.

  35. CplDaniel says:

    Yes, maybe I over-punish the offender. Maybe 3-game suspension would be sufficient, now that I think about it. Injuries can happen even without any mal-intent. But a blatant dive, only for the purpose of scoring (I’ve seen a dive where there was a foul, but the only way to get the ref to call the constant fouling against the player was to finally go down) and I would take that into consideration when assessing a possible punitive measure. But a one-game suspension is nothing more than a red card. So they get the PK, the goal up, the win, and walk away with what is essentially a red card. I think it should be a 3-game suspension if it is that bad. Maybe one game and a rematch?? But that would screw with scheduling. Delivering justice is hard! But you’re right. I revise my recommendation and make it a 3-match ban.

  36. Flacotex says:

    I don’t like diving but MLS needs to go after the hacking too. And don’t just do it because a player has his leg broken. Maybe that will result in less players diving.

  37. downintexas says:

    Yes refs should be omnipresent. Why can’t MLS find those types of refs. Instead we get as BrocolliRob call incompetent. Give it a rest Brocolli, refs are people who make bad call or are not in the right position. It part of the game until they have replays.

    The only way refs are going to get better are 1. hire infallible refs.
    2. hire european refs that never make mistakes
    3. Allow current MLS refs to get more experiance.

  38. RB says:

    You know if you repeat it enough, it might become true. Really.

  39. RB says:

    I don’t know why anyone expects anything but inconsistency, given what they did earlier in the season with suspensions for rough tackles. In fact, they’re being relatively consistent with the diving situation, by comparison.

  40. Garny says:


    They failed to set an example with the hacks. Arguably the 2 best players in the league were missing from the all star game because of them. Divers are usually key players, hackers are not

  41. Jay says:

    What I don’t get is all the people that cry that you can’t punish a player for a lazy tackle that ends up injuring somebody based upon the severity of the injury but you can suspend a player for diving and justify it saying that the other team got a red card for it when the diving player isn’t the moron that gave out the red card…

  42. cajun says:

    Are you mental? This has nothing to do with bad reffing. Saborio showed the blatant deception of a dive that cost his opponents a player and gifted his team a goal. He knew exactly what he was doing and deserved every bit of his punishment. Bad refereeing is a whole different subject…Apples/Oranges

  43. cajun says:

    As much as Kreis raised a tizzy along with the rest of the RSL team when virtually the exact same thing happened AGAINST them in the Charlie Davies incident, perhaps he should avoid the hypocracy of defending Saborio in this instance, don’t you think?

  44. Kejsare says:

    My thoughts on the subject too. What about the victim?

  45. VADCUfan says:

    Except that MLS said specifically that they would increase punishment on the next offender regardless of who that offender is. If Davies dives like that again he WILL be suspended and fined.

  46. CSD says:

    I think you meant to say “that should muddle things up”

  47. ChiTownFire says:

    It’s because Sabo’s hispanic (I’m hispanic). Ha, I kid I kid.

  48. Scott A says:

    I love it. Dare I say that MLS is leading the way on an important issue?

  49. The Dream says:

    For the people that say the inconsistency is that it would only be a yellow if it was called, they can still get a yellow for simulation plus a suspension if warranted.

  50. ShaggyReAL says:

    Not defend Saborio for diving, since he already came out and said he didn’t agree with Saborio diving, but defend him getting suspended. I would okay with Saborio getting suspended if all the other divers were suspended as well. I don’t feel I’m being an RSL homer, I want them to be consistent.

  51. Neruda says:

    Then Jon busch should be suspended for his antics for at least a game w an increased fine. Starting a fight with the opposing manager is classless and busch should know better.

    If u increase penalties for offensive play and behavior than do it across the board.

  52. georg says:

    Let me get this straight, a striker embellished a play to get a penalty in the box? wow really cannot believe this is happening in the game of soccer. Any of you who think a $1000.00 fine and game suspension to Saborio is going to stop this type of thing in the future is nuts. Bottom line Sabo got the goal, RSL went on to get 3 points. When this stops happening in the future please feel free to give me a call.

  53. ShaggyReAL says:

    I don’t think it would hurt Kreis at all if he defended Saborio about the suspension. I think it would be a nice shot at MLS at their hypocracy.

    Jason talked to Saborio after he saw the replay and told him it wasn’t acceptable. If Saborio does it again, it fair game to suspend him.

    Why didn’t anyone talk to Charlie after he dove? because he’s a USMNT player?? He’s American? I’m just curious.

  54. Mikey says:

    Sabo punished because of the incompetence of the ref? Sabo was punished for diving – he did that on his own.

    The league would have punished Saborio whether the ref caught it or not

  55. Mikey says:

    I was actually rooting for Busch, as was probably everyone else that was watching at the time

  56. Mikey says:

    From now on, all divers are.

    It started with the last offender, Charlie Davies. Now it’s policy. Everyone who dives will face penalties. Watch.

  57. Hero says:


  58. Nick says:

    I will give credit to MLS for following through and handing down the suspension. However, I don’t think it went far enough. I agree that a 3 game ban is appropriate.

  59. Dank says:

    Saborio broke his leg? Possibly contact? What incident do you think this was about?

  60. Eric Usher says:

    You’re an idiot. The ref was completely straightlined and the play was 50 yds from his AR who would’ve had the best view of it.

  61. nate says:

    “I want a league that addresses egregious problems quickly and decisively, instead of letting a rules subcommittee debate the question for two or three off-seasons (hello, NFL).”

    or two or three decades (hello, FIFA.)

  62. USAmr66 says:

    If the MLS is going to review games after the fact and punish embellishment, then they also need to review games and retro-actively award cards, free-kicks, and penalties for fouls that were not called. Those also have a negative impact on the game. How about also retroactively punishing poor refereeing? It seems inconsistent to only go after one aspect with video review.
    Diving needs to stop.
    Hacking needs to stop.
    Bad refing needs to stop.

  63. noonelikesmeidontcare says:

    He did talk to his assistant, who also screwed it up by blaming Burling and not Ring, who got the initial red card! They both looked incompetent. The real injustice here was that Burling’s card wasn’t recinded.