MLS disciplines Moffat, Fernandez

Moffat (Getty Images)

MLS commissioner Don Garber said before the season that the league's disciplinary committee would take a hard line on excessive challenges and instances of embellishment, and the first instance of that more rigid stance has been put in motion.

The league has suspended and fined Houston Dynamo midfielder Adam Moffat for a harsh challenge and fined Seattle Sounders midfielder Alvaro Fernandez for embellishing contact in their matchup a week ago.

Moffat's tackle on Osvaldo Alonso has drawn a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine. The sliding, studs-up challenge "endangered the safety of his opponent," according to a league statement. He'll miss Houston's next match, which is not until April 15, and becomes the second Dynamo player suspended this week after Colin Clark was dealt a three-game suspension for his anti-gay slur directed at a Sounders ball boy.

Houston's coaches and players, meanwhile, appeared to be livid at repeated instances of embellishment by Fernandez throughout their match, and MLS blew the whistle on the Uruguayan Designated Player, fining him an undisclosed amount for an instance that happened in the 82nd minute of the match. Fernandez was not carded for his act, but he did receive a yellow in the moments following his offense after pushing and jawing with Dynamo players before a free kick.

Video of Moffat's challenge is after the jump:


Do you think Moffat's challenge warranted a suspension? Did you think Fernandez deserved to be punished as well?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- Seattle Sounders. Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to MLS disciplines Moffat, Fernandez

  1. Polo says:

    Not sure about the Moffat tackle deserving a suspension, but Fernandez should have been sent off by half time. He dove more in the first half than Barcelona and Madrid dive in an entire Clasico.

  2. Devon says:

    Sounders fan and yes, I agree Fernandez embellishes like crazy. Hopefully the fine will knock it out of him.

  3. Devon says:

    His studs are up the whole time. Granted, he hits the ball and pops over it, but if he misses the ball, he breaks a leg. So I’d say it’s deserving.

  4. LiquidYogi says:

    The worst part about that sequence is that Moffat and Kinnear are acting like it shouldn’t even have been a foul. Maybe 30 years ago, but I don’t think even then would this have been considered fair play. Now it’s a red card, as taught by EVERY League in the world.

    Lets try to make this clear. It doesn’t matter that you got the ball, it matters how you challenged the player. This is why Gibbs was given a yellow card for scissoring a player after clearing the ball. It’s how you challenge…this challenge was cleats up over the ball. Every FIFA instructor I’ve ever seen has stated this is a red card, with a boat load of videos showing this challenge for examples.

  5. one legged says:

    Another Sounder fan here glad to hear about fernandez. Hopefully this helps correct his excessive flopping.

  6. Mike says:

    As a Sounders fan, they both deserve it. That’s a textbook reckless challenge and Fernandez needs to stop flopping.

  7. Roboatse says:

    I agree that Fernandez makes a meal out of a lot of challenges but he is also really really skinny and decently tall, I’m sure he is also really easy to knock down.

  8. Mike says:

    red card. studs up. end of story.

  9. Al says:

    Embellishes? you mean dive.
    That’s right, when our team does it it’s called “drawing a foul”. When they do it it’s called diving.

  10. Brian says:

    I agree that Fernandez should get the talking to but I still dislike WHY he feels the need to embellish. On that particular play they are referencing he passes the ball away and Brad Davis comes in and delivers contact well after the ball is gone. No need for that. Show some respect for your opponent and they will respect you by not crying wolf on every little touch.

  11. Polo says:

    He goes with one foot and he keeps it on the ground, he gets unlucky and the ball sticks and his leg pops up.

    There was no intent to injure and he even only went in with one foot. I’m fine with a yellow for the element of recklessness, it was a very hard tackle.

    But if you’re going to start handing out suspensions and cards for the potential for danger, you’ll finish the game with 5 v 5.

    What MLS needs to crack down on are the high tackles from the side and behind that come nowhere near the ball. Those happen far too often.

  12. Brian says:

    Embellishes is the right term here. There was contact, just not enough to warrant a foul. A dive implies no contact at all. The player went down with no assistance from an opponent.

  13. Papabear says:

    Have to disagree. It wasn’t a two-footed reckless challenge, or a challenge where he scissored the player with his follow through. He came in cleanly and one won the ball. His foot happened to pop up over the ball and caused him to get a piece of the Sounder’s player.He didn’t come in high looking to make contact.

    I’m fine with the yellow since his foot did come over the ball and make contact, but it wasn’t a malicious/reckless tackle. The suspension is unnecessary.

  14. Devin Brown says:

    By the way, why does he feel the need to embellish, as you put it?

  15. Papabear says:

    There’s shoulder to shoulder contact off the ball all the time as guys jockey for position.It’s part of the game and completely illegal.

  16. XPK says:

    I’m liking these moves by the MLS. Flopping is one of the top complaints I hear from people as to why they don’t like watching soccer.

  17. Nick says:

    The Moffat tackle looks worse here than it did in the game, not sure if its a different camera or what, but during the game I thought it was barely a yellow – He had his toe extended, got all ball then his foot rolled up over the ball after that. Both teams were playing tough – Fernandez was flopping a lot too.

    Dynamo is taking the brunt of being made an example of by MLS this season. Wrong place wrong time, mixed with playing a tough style. Hopefully Camargo Picks up some of the slack

  18. Frank says:

    The ref saw the foul and called it. He also thought it was worthy of a yellow card. Why does it need to be overturned? Should the ref be banned as well? What other plays will be reviewed? This process seems arbitrary and in the end will benefit LA Galaxy and the Red Bulls.

  19. Brain Guy says:

    I’d also establish a bright-line rule that you get suspended for putting your hands over your face unless you have actually been hit in the face.

  20. Papabear says:


  21. Peter says:

    He did not come in cleanly. He came in cleats first straight toward his man. That is how legs broken.

  22. downintexas says:

    Good to see the league clamp down on floppers and thugish tackles. This is how to make MLS better.

  23. Travis says:

    I agree with the punishment for both. Mottat’s tackle was high & he slid late. He wasn’t late on the tackle, but sliding so quickly brings a lot more force and chance for major injury.

    Flaco does need to stop embelishing. He get fouled a lot, and that is fine. He shouldn’t need to try to “sell” the foul.

    I do see a difference between emblishment & diving. I don’t like either. To me a “dive” is when you aren’t fouled, but try to get a call. “Embelishment” is when you are fouled, but make it look worse trying to draw a card.

    I’m all for cards or post-match suspensions for diving. Embelishing can start with fines, then work up to more.

  24. Mike in Missouri says:

    Moffat deserves the retroactive red for the yellow card and all the mouth flapping he did afterwards–should have been dissent.

    You can’t allow studs up high challenges, period. Otherwise we have more injuries like we did last year, which was a disaster for the league and fans of RSL/Dallas/Seattle.

  25. Vinz Clortho says:

    I like the idea of cleaning up the game this way…If players know they might face consequences upon review then there will be less BS on the pitch…

    I think this is a good way for MLS to show the rest of the world that they aren’t afraid of using multiple camera angles/technology to improve the game….

  26. lassidawg says:

    Sorry but his foot went over the ball because he was studs up. Should have been a red at the time. I like the league is doing this, the idea is to stop this before players get hurt. It should take an injury to get a red or suspension.

  27. CSD says:

    + a few

  28. bbaltrus says:

    I really think the announcer needs to clarify that the rule is not whether you get the ball or not. I have heard so many parents at lower age group games make that same statement. That is not the rule!

    The rule is studs up=yellow card.
    Two footed challenge = Red.

    The suspension is probably not warranted, but we all know Moffat has a history of this type of tackle

  29. Devin Brown says:

    Perhaps you can quote the exact rule from the laws of the game to clarify the discussion.

  30. Dan says:

    It looks to me like if Alonso hadn’t pulled back he would have had a broken leg. Good fortune for him that his foot wasn’t planted.

  31. NSBill says:

    Sounders fan here and glad to see both things happen, not because I want Flaco to get fined, but happy to see that diving is really being looked at. This league needs to get rid of the thuggery, but also don’t want it to be a league full of floppers either.

  32. lassidawg says:

    I can tell you that from my personal experience if a player doesn’t hit the ball and goes straight into a leg at full speed. It is called a couple nights in the hospital insert rod and screws and hope like hell you can play again in 12 to 18 months. 17 months later soccer is no where in my future still hurts too much to run

    The idea is to make the players think about what they are doing before they injure someone

  33. lassidawg says:

    No dumb decsions by Dynamo players, especially Clark

  34. Ryan says:

    I am really had to see the league taking a stance on flopping. As far as I’m aware MLS is the only league that does this (does anyone know of other instances?). Diving along with arguing with refs are my biggest complaints about soccer. Its flat out embarrassing, when I’m watching a game with non soccer fans trying to get them into the game and players are falling over whenever a slight breeze blows. This part of the game has gotten out hand and I am proud that our league is one the leaders in trying to stop it.

  35. Ryan says:

    *happy not had

  36. Nate Dollars says:

    “Dive” should cover it though, right? Why should it imply no contact? All it means is that a player went down when he could’ve stayed up.

    I’ve never liked “embellish”, simply because it seemed like people were making excuses for faking, i.e. “He was just embellishing, not diving.”

  37. Byron Russell says:

    Foot may have gone over the ball, but he keeps his leg extended throughout the tackle. It’s one thing to go over the ball on accident, but you promptly bend your knee to absorb any unintended impact. Moffat doesn’t do this.

  38. Macias says:

    Not a two footed tackle. The referee got it right in the first place when he gave him the yellow card. Poor decision on the part of the league. Good call on Flaco though.

  39. US Soccer Fan says:

    This is a good call on all accounts. Especially the three game to Clark. What an idiot.

    The Moffat tackle was dirty, end of story.

  40. Air Jordanz says:

    But Scotsmen are supposed to be allowed to tackle studs up!

    Pretty crappy, though, that 2 starting Dynamo midfielders will be out next game, but I can’t argue with the suspensions. On the plus side, maybe Alex Dixon will see first team minutes.

    Also, am personally glad to see Alvaro Fernandez disciplined. He’s the only Sounder I don’t respect, in spite of his talent. He needs to watch that Messi Never Dives video.

  41. Kraos says:

    Perhaps you can open the rule book yourself instead of expecting others to cater to your lack of knowledge. I’m a referee and yes, bbaltrus is correct…..for the most part…when a studs up one-legged tackle is as high up as it was on Ozzie’s leg, it’s a red card. It doesn’t matter what the intent of the tackler is, what matters is the rule is broken regardless.

    You can read the Laws of the Game on FIFA’s website….unless you can’t read, that is.

  42. J Dog says:

    NO!!! Whether or not someone is injured is meaningless. This just promotes players rolling around and pretending they are injured until the card comes out

  43. J Dog says:

    Ask Stu Holden about those tackles. Every time I see Johnny Evans it makes me mad.

  44. smokeminside says:

    actually, hands to the face is my favorite embellishment. It’s the closest soccer gets to being as funny as the Simpsons or Phineas and Ferb.

  45. Cris says:

    Disagree with the league and most of the comments. Moffat’s tackle was a yellow end of story. I understand what the league is trying to do but I’m not sure if they will scrutinize every game and challenge. Beckham has a lot of hard challenges that don’t get the call or the league to interfere.

    Teams need to stop diving/embelishing. I get sick of seeing it in games. Sounder’s dove a lot in the second half of the game. Not sure if Montero holds a special practice to help his teamates dive.

    Dynamo play a tough and physical game. Sick of them being called thugs. Grow a pair.

  46. Macias says:

    The Moffat tackle was not “dirty.” You could say “clumsy” “awkward” or even “reckless” but it clearly was not “dirty.”

  47. SteveE says:

    He went in with his foot up. The reason he went over the ball is because his foot was over half way up the ball and going for the shin. It was a good call. The ref on the field probably got it right at the time, but being able to look at the video it is good to see the league go back and say it was wrong.

    Also glad about Fernandez. Flopping (yes Sounders fan and I am calling it a flop) needs to go away. He gets hit in the chest and then Flaco acts as if punched. He tends to get what seem like hard fouls because he is a stick, but that was embarrassing.

  48. lassidawg says:

    I meant it shouldn’t take an injury to get a red

  49. AG says:

    Do these rules apply when a player challenges one of these ways but makes no contact with another player?

  50. Kenny_B says:

    What Moffat deserves is to get punched in the mouth as hard as possible. What an a-hole challenge. It is dirty, because he is too stupid to realize its a bad challenge that has no business being made.

  51. Erik says:

    Kenny B, thanks for making this entire conversation moronic. Good job.

  52. coop says:

    So it’s true. Refs are a-holes off the pitch. I’ve long suspected. You wouldn’t happen to be from Mexico too, would you?

  53. Kosmo says:

    Seattle are a skilled team but weak both physically and mentally (which is why things like Santos and RSL happen). They thrive on the finesse game and take it a step further with the diving. Since their inception, beginning with Ljungberg, then Montero, Fernandez, etc. they have probably been the biggest floppers in MLS. If only they could have picked up Carlos Ruiz in their expansion draft.

  54. sammysounder74 says:

    If they’re going to fine Flaco than they should have fined all the other divers, too.

  55. STFU says:

    I figure he’ll let his boots do the talking this week..