MLS Disciplinary Committee fines Crew’s Gonzalez for embellishment


photo by Michael Burns/


Giancarlo Gonzalez’s embellishment late on Sunday has not gone unpunished.

The MLS Disciplinary Committee announced on Tuesday that it has fined Gonzalez an undisclosed amount for trying to dupe match officials into thinking he had been struck by Chris Wondolowski late in the 1-1 draw between the Columbus Crew and San Jose Earthquakes.

Gonzalez initially crashed into Wondolowski in an off-ball incident that went unnoticed and Wondolowski responded by getting in the Crew defender’s face, which then prompted Gonzalez to go down in a heap.

You can view the play in its entirety here:

What do you think of Gonzalez being fined by the Disciplinary Committee? Think he should have been suspended, too? Do you consider this worse than diving?

Share your thoughts below.

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92 Responses to MLS Disciplinary Committee fines Crew’s Gonzalez for embellishment

  1. Jake says:

    Nothing for the blindside shoulder charge off the ball before the flopping incident? One is intent to injure. The other is intent to deceive the ref. Too bad the crew and sj don’t play again (unless its in MLS cup… and that’s not happening for SJ this year).

    • cabrito says:


    • BBB says:

      Diving should be an auto-suspension of three games for a 1st offense, six games for a 2nd offense and season for a 3rd.

      Divers ruin the game.

    • Chodilicus says:

      Definitely should have been suspended. I see no correlation at all between simulation and physical play. Simulation truly is cheating as the whole point is deception. It is not a part of soccer in any way. There is a reason that shoulder to shoulder challenges are legal in the rules of the game. Being physical is part of soccer with refs or not. Can you imagine flopping and diving in pick-up, street style soccer? It is not a natural part of the game and any clear dives or flops should be suspended.

      With all that said, there is a delicious irony in the Earthquakes being on the other side of flopping. They have been by far the worst offenders of this in MLS over the last few years. It is laugh out loud kind of funny that Wondo would get so upset at this when he plays next to Gordon and Lenhart and never seems to yell at them for flopping. If this type of play was a suspension, Lenhart would be suspended 5 to 10 times each season.

  2. cabrito says:

    Should have been a suspension. What he did was an embarrassment to MLS and the sport. Keep that sh*t in Liga MX!

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Personally I find the notion of disciplinary bodies running around after the fact punishing overlooked embellishment as unmacho as the acts they are supposed to be punishing. I think the obsession with getting simulation called is about as bad as the obsession used to be with trying to flop and get the “tackle” itself called before.

      I mean, it’s to the point were we have false positive simulation calls where someone was tripped but the ref thinks they embellished. How silly is that.

      I understand punishing an overlooked foul…..the baiting that started the encounter. I understand reversing a non-foul……video review shows it was a simulated tackle, which shouldn’t have gotten a red. But video review of non-events like someone fake-falls down and nothing happens (thus achieving nothing) are best left in the past.

      I’m sorry but the obsession with simulation is a tad odd. I don’t want them stopping games to punish people for non-fouls. I don’t want the focus on non-fouls. I want the ref calling violence and getting it right. I want video correcting missed violence or false violence. I really don’t want to be watching the authorities obsessing about the fakers all the time.

      • fifawitz1313 says:

        Totally disagree. Punish them and punish them hard.

        • Jesse D says:

          +1 the only problem I see is that other leagues around the world don’t do the same thing.

      • James says:

        I think there’s a middle ground to be found. To me, this is such a clear cut example and should be disciplined. ESPN had a really good article contrasting views around the globe on diving/simulation. The US and England are vehemently opposed to diving, and see it as a plague to the game, and it must be eliminated. Latin America, Spain, Italy see it as gamesmanship.

        It’s interesting because we (US) see it as cheating, but we don’t have a problem with extremely physical play, which is a form of cheating as well. Latin America and others see the extreme physical play as the plague.

        I guess my point is, if the league cracked down on the physical play and did a better job protecting players (particularly creative players), simulation would be less necessary.

        • Jesse D says:

          simulation is unrelated to physical play. It is the exact opposite. Pretending there was physical play when there was not.

          • Seriously says:

            +All the points. Exactly.

          • Ryan SATX says:

            I would say a significant percentage of “dives” are actually just players hitting the deck to avoid having a leg broken. I’ve gone down without contact more than a few times to avoid someone’s studs coming at my knee.

        • Lil' Zeke says:

          Interesting observations

      • RB says:

        Also totally disagree. Don’t care whether it’s simulation or an unseen foul, I’m completely behind having a disciplinary committee review video and issue punishments, or additional punishments, or extend punishments or whatever. As long as it’s at least somewhat consistent, it’s essential in a sport that has failed to keep up with the reality of the times in terms of either sheer athletic development or technology and still thinks just a couple of guys can cover enough ground and properly see everything and make reliable real-time judgments and so forth. Unless and until reefing crews are basically doubled in size, it’s the only way to go.

        And at that, even if they were doubled in size, well what’s the problem with reviewing for missed fouls (or, as also happens, to correct a bit in cases of the wrong player having been booked or the like)? And I mean what’s wrong about it that’s a little more substantial than it not being considered macho enough?

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        “…as unmacho as the acts they are supposed to be punishing.”

        I really don’t care how “macho” something is—I’ll leave those worries to Randy Savage. I care about how simulation affects the game. It is hardly a “non-event” that “achieves nothing.” Two major negative consequences:

        1. Defenders become overly cautious. Weak, timid defenses are a bore.

        2. Attackers fall down for anything, hoping to draw the foul, thereby stopping the flow of the game.

        I’d much prefer to see it dealt with during the match, but it’s a very difficult call for referees to make. Referees will always be more reluctant to call it. It’s bad to blow any call, but mis-calling simulation is the worst mistake because it punishes the victim.

      • Jesse D says:

        You are so far off from logic, reason and a sense of right it is amazing. I can’t even respond to the specific because they are so foolish and pathetic. Not everyone has to think the same thing, but there are some foolish, illogical and absurd people in the world. You qualify as all 3.

      • whoop-whoop says:

        Can’t agree with you on this one Imperative. There are different shades of simulation with varying degrees of ability to determine intent etc. which should be dealt with differently… anticipating and exaggerating a foul/ contact while going down easily is on one end… dropping to the ground and flailing about without being touched something else entirely. This type of ridiculous “simulation” is essentially a premeditated lie intended to draw a red card with no foul committed and greatly alters the course of a game and it’s outcome. Totally unacceptable, embarrassing and should be punished in cases such as this where it is blatantly obvious. If the league is consistent in enforcing this, I don’t see it being a common occurrence as it is a fair bet the motivation will be removed/number of incidents and need to discipline will go way down.

      • Northzax says:

        I agree here. No harm, no foul. If you get the call, punish, that’s fine. But if you don’t, then you just fell down and made a fool of yourself. Assume the ref for the next match has seen that clip, and will remember it. Fine/suspend for dangerous plays, or blatant simulation that affects the match outcome (cards, fouls, etc) but this perfectly good no-call? Why bother?

        • whoop-whoop says:

          Because it is oftentimes pretty difficult for a ref to get it right. He has a bad angle or distance and it’s all too easy to get this wrong and completely change the complexion of the match.

          Hate to exaggerate the gravity of the situation with a poor analogy, but someone attempts a break in/robbery of someone’s home and fails to get in, it doesn’t negate a criminal act/they still need to be punished… with little risk and potential for plenty of reward it’s a fair bet they’ll do it again.

          • Northzax says:

            But the point I’m making is that generating a reputation for simulation is deterrence enough. Look at Charlie Davies, first mls player hit with a simulation penalty, well deserved from his dcu days, now he gets carded for simulation on plays others would get away with, that rep makes him less effective (two weeks ago in dc he gets a card for diving, when maybe someone else gets the foul and a close in free kick) that is continuing punishment, fair or not. Gonzalez will be a less effective defender in at least his next match, if I’m Ben Olsen, I am running everything I can at him saturday, make the refs make calls.

            • whoop-whoop says:

              What you are proposing is that a game be officiated on the basis of bias. Not good. Calls need to be made based on the rules of the game and what happens that play, that game. I do understand in real life, that bias/reputation/status does end up coming into play, but it is NOT a desirable thing. The reason refs are put into a position that they end up using reputation/bias, is because missed calls/simulation that is very difficult to see in real time is blatantly obvious in slow motion replay from various angles on camera after the fact. Punishing these types of offenses when obvious not only serves as a deterrence and lessens the likelihood of repeated offenses, but it takes the ref off the hook and frees him up to call games based on what he sees, not what he thinks he may see based on what has happened in the past.

      • Stracho says:

        This is exactly why they should punish simulation via disciplinary committee after the game.

      • Skyman says:

        Agree100%, punish the violence haeshly

      • Lil' Zeke says:

        Yikes, the big man getting raked over the coals!

        I think all leagues have their particular style, and fines for weasely behavior (however sly it may be) are an expression of MLS style.

      • John L says:

        It’s one of the things I love about MLS. We don’t put up with that kind of Bullshi* in MLS. You stamp out diving and time wasting and more Americans will watch Soccer.

      • John Lubeck says:

        What the he#$ are you talking about. Do you even know? First Gonzalez delivers a cheap shot on an unsuspecting player from behind. Do you know what that means? Then he takes a dive reducing the sport to a game of acting. Do you know anything about sports or soccer? It appears that you do not.

  3. swift says:

    Incredible how the MLS allows a player to blindside a potential World Cup player with zero repercussions. There is no question Gonzalez was trying to hurt the only attacking option the Quakes had on the field and for it he received….nothing!

    • 1st Time Caller says:

      I agree with you that their inaction in regards to this trend is terribly disconcerting, but I’m afraid in this case Gonzalez would just be doing the USMNT a favor had he succeeded. Wondo can only hurt our chances in Brazil.

      • QuakerOtis says:

        … Wow. Last time caller too, I hope.

        • 1st Time Caller says:

          Lol, not a chance funboy. I’ll be around here longer than Wondo that’s for sure

          • QuakerOtis says:

            Ahhhh. I suppose I get what I deserve for feeding you. Enjoy. Yell upstairs, say hi to your mom for me.

      • Birgit Calhoun says:

        I agree, and the very idea of the concept of “drawing a foul” is offensive to me. It irks me in basketball as it especially irks me in soccer. When I was a child, a soccer player was only supposed to use his feet. The arms were supposed to be as close to the body as possible when touching another player so that the appearance of using them was avoided. It’s called football because you only use your feet. The “handball” gets a penalty exactly for that reason. I would like for that to remain that way. There are too many egregious fouls committed with elbows and hands to the neck and back. Referees here in this country are too used to the violent nature of hockey, basketball and football. Soccer should not have to wind up being played in body-armor.

      • John Lubeck says:

        Hmm Wondo will hurt our chances for MNT in Brazil. Fabulous comment, makes zero sense but brilliant.

  4. beachbum says:

    hope the other teams are ready to hammer him when they see him, Gonzalez that is; if he’s going to pretend he’s being hammered on, then hammer on him

  5. FRANK says:


  6. KingGoogleyEye says:

    I’ve reached the point where I am happy that a player gets fined for embellishment/faking before I even know whether he really did it or not.

  7. me says:

    Not the first Crew player fined for embellishment this year(Higuain). They’ve also been carded for it. I’m curious if the Crew have been called to talk for diving more than other teams this year and if this is a verifiable trend.

  8. A says:


    That entire incident should have been a 3-5 game suspension and an enormous fine.

    • iggy says:

      yeah, I agree.

      From a fans point of view a suspension is more meaningful than a fine.

    • 1st Time Caller says:

      I’m for immediate expulsion from the league and penalties for the club.

    • JJ says:

      Anything short of prison time is utterly ridiculous.

    • Lil' Zeke says:

      Hopefully the rest of his life will be bleak, with family and friends disowning him one by one… his every hair follicle turning infectiously inward upon itself

  9. Me Too says:

    What a D***, cheap shot then fake like you have a heart attack. Banned for life.

  10. divers suck says:

    Two yellow card offenses, slam in the back and blatant embellishment, within seconds while already on a yellow card (according to the announcers)? And all he gets is a fine from the DC? Really? How many think it should have been a suspension of at least 1 match? I know I do…..

    • QuakerOtis says:


      As others have said, the cheap shot was the worst part.

    • 1st Time Caller says:

      Seriously! I know my above comment might seem a bit rash but I seriously wouldn’t be opposed to it when it is that obvious. There has to be REAL consequences. Mininum 5 game suspension, with the possibility of lifetime ban from the league. And there really should be penalties for the club as well, so that this sort of thing will follow a player around for his entire career even if he is not “banned for life” so other clubs in the league are reluctant to hire him in the first place because he could be a financial liability. Perhaps not for first time offenders (I only say this to protect any would be clubs in the event someone turns to the darkside out of the blue later in their career.) But after one offense, your name goes on the list and from there on out its lifetime ban or severe penalties for the club and player on the occasion of a second offense. This can’t be tolerated on any level.

      • Chris says:

        Flopping should certainly be weeded out, but this response is so far over the top I’m not even sure what to really say.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          I propose the following disciplinary scale:

          flopping: public flogging (2nd offense: cat ‘o nine tails)
          diving: boiled alive (2nd offense: rotisseried alive)
          simulation: drawn and quartered (2nd offense: player’s quarters each drawn and quartered)

        • TBone says:

          I’m actually a lot less perturbed by the flopping than by the retaliatory cheap shot that. He had gotten burned on the goal and The Crew were doing everything that they could to have Parkhurst on Wondolowski because Gonzalez couldn’t handle him. Once Wahl entered the match, the weakling knew that he couldn’t get it done, so he tried to injure an opponent.

          Weakling Gonzalez was save to a degree by Tyson Wahl, who is good friend with Wondolowski. You can see that Wahl actually did a great job calming the situation.

          Having watched the entire match, I can tell you that without Parkhurst next to him, the weakling will be exposed often.

    • Birgit Calhoun says:

      It should have been a three-game suspension. Lenhart got that last year. In his case, though, I looked at the YouTube quite a few times, and I detected that the player on the ground grabbed Lenhart’s foot so he didn’t have a chance to pull it away. Lenhart should have been suspended for clumsiness. The victim should have been suspended for using his hands to make sure that Lenhart’s foot wound up on his chest.

  11. iggy says:

    I laugh each time i see that replay with Wondo sticking his arms out after the flop. The flop was so bad that Wondo actually calls him out on it while he is doing it.

    This vs the Dempsey suspension says that retaliating against another player is worse than cheating the game/ref. not down with that.

  12. langston hughes says:

    the DC is a sham…..absoulutely toothless

  13. QuakerOtis says:

    Two games for a love tap… no games for a blatant physical assault?! Stay classy MLS.

  14. Dave Z says:

    Yes he should have received a red card suspension and a second suspension for the simultation, total two games.

  15. Brain Guy says:

    Suspend and fine guys who do stuff like this. He had the gall to gesture to the linesman that he should have seen Wondo’s “offense”.

  16. IgnerAnt says:

    The really serious problem with an incredibly weak reaction from the DC is that it encourages players to do exactly the comments here are all insinuating: instill their own form of discipline on Gonzalez the next time they see him. I understand why, and in my mind that kind of reaction is the real reason why tepid, weak responses from the DC are so problematic. Gonzalez’s s&*tbird behavior suggests that he probably won’t be deterred from doing it again the next time. But now, not only have they slapped an egregious offender on the wrist, they’re going to have to be extra vigilant in the coming games about cheap-ass shots leveled against Gonzalez. People who foul him just in the normal course of play are going to be scrutinized to ensure they weren’t engaging in vigilante justice. If he had just been suspended a few games, the reaction from his fellow players might be a little less “I’ll jack him up” and a little more “that moron got what he had coming.”

  17. RB says:

    Maybe Gonzalez was just trying to live up to the work last year of his fellow Tico, Joel Campbell…

  18. reignman says:

    No consistency at all from the DC here. The dirty challenge right before this HAS to be at least one game taking into account the other punishments dished out by them recently. This is laughable, I would have hoped for 3 games taking into account the dirty push and then the flop afterwards.

  19. Truthiness says:

    Can’t tell 100%, but looks like a pretty powerful nipple tweak to me.

  20. Lindells says:

    His hit on Wondo before the horrendous dive should have earned him a suspension. For some of the things they’ve given suspensions for this season, you’d think this would be at LEAST worse than the Dempsey sac-tap “incident”. Absolutely ZERO consistency from the D.C. Very disappointing to see.

  21. Ian says:

    The titty-twister heard ’round the world.

  22. Hejduk4President says:

    The dive was a disgrace, no arguments here. As a Crew fan, I’m embarrassed and hopefully Berhalter will impose his own punishment internally.

    As for the body check? A yellow card would have been fair. Yes, it was intentional but it wasn’t a two-footed, studs up, or cynical/violent tackle.

    • reignman says:

      I would argue it was both cynical/violent. The ball was nowhere near them and he has gone out of his way to throw a shoulder into him. That is clearly violent as far as I’m concerned.

    • Vik says:

      When you blindside someone there’s always higher chance of injury.

    • Lil' Zeke says:

      Not sure how the rules parse or the hairs split, but if I had my druthers body slams like this would get you kicked out of the game every time.

  23. Birgit Calhoun says:

    This incident should have been punished with a suspension. To me that was a lot worse than when Dempsey got suspended. It also prevented a potential goal-scoring opportunity. Therefore it should have been a red card. The simulation part is separate. That should be punished with a fine.

  24. TBone says:

    The DC ruling on this speaks loudly to the double standard is MLS. I guarantee that had Gonzalez purposefully attempted to injure Robbie Keane, Clint Dempsey, Thierry Henry or any other DP from a big market team in the way that he did Wondolowski, he would be sitting for AT LEAST 2 matches and that his fine would have likely been something more than pocket change.

    I am vehemently opposed to retaliation or attempts to injure other players, but by failing to take appropriate action, MLS is leaving players with that as their only avenue of self-preservation. A Roy Keane v Alf Inge Haland situation is one very likely outcome of this. I doubt that Conor Casey will put up with this PRAT and if he’s still in the league next year, he will dread having to play against Lenhart. Gonzalez is a weak player.

  25. Daniel in Chapel Hill says:

    Gross. Keep this out of my MLS.

  26. barkdog says:

    This thread needs more Quakes fans calling for discipline. Entertainment of the highest order.

  27. ckbren says:

    MLS should seriously consider making these discipline’s more public. Make it more shameful for these things happening. Have a page dedicated to a hall of shame with videos of the “embellishments” along with information on their fines, suspensions and previous offenses. Players might be more concerned about their public image and not be so stupid.

  28. Pingback: MLS Disciplinary Committee fines Crew’s Gonzalez for embellishment |

  29. Birgit Calhoun says:

    Where is Juergen commenting how his USMNT members shouldn’t be fouled? Shouldn’t he open his mouth for this situation as well?

  30. brent says:

    Call me a purist, but if the ref does not see it then it was no foul. Yeah, it was a cheapshot. Take retrospective action, if the league wants, but it was not that bad of a foul anyway. Would of been different had Wondolowski stayed on the ground for 5 minutes. rolling around. In addition, it was a risky play from the defender because if the linesman sees it, he could flag it for a PK, even though it was just outside the box. I wonder what the linesman was looking at, if not the last defender? The referee’s just need to get better in the MLS. Call more fouls and give more yellows for hard tackles. I watch Simon Borgs recap(instant replay) of the weekend MLS fouls on Tuesdays and the players get away with so much in the MLS. German referees would be giving out yellows and reds like lollipops at Halloween for these tackles. I’m not trying to be a Eurosnob but I have lived in Germany since 2001 (played here as well) and watched the Bundesliga highlights religiously since that time(except this year because Bayern were just too dominant- refuse to watch dominating Bayern again, every year, type thingy.) If there is any contact the player goes down, period. The Ref always blows for a foul even if just minimal contact. And the German Ref’s don’t miss much. Anyway, the linesman should of caught it and awarded a free kick outside the box.

  31. beto says:

    What a tool. Should have been at least yellowed (2nd) and suspended a match

  32. Matt C says:

    The solution is to fine him and imprint something on his uniform that labels him a cheater. For several matches, he wear a shirt with a parenthetical after his name (“Cheater”).

    For warm ups he wears a special t-shirt that says “I’m a puss, i got touched on the chest and it really hurt…so i want down like a puss”.