Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By TIM FONTENAULT
The Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders violated Major League Soccer’s mass confrontation policy on Saturday, the league’s Disciplinary Committee has determined.
This is Seattle’s second violation this season, resulting in a fine for both the club and manager Sigi Schmid. Chicago, a first-time offender this season, has been issued an official warning.
Chicago defender Gonzalo Segares and midfielder Benji Joya were fined by the committee after being declared responsible for the first altercation of the match.
Referee Chris Penso awarded a free kick to Chicago in the seventh minute. Sounders forward Obafemi Martins lunged towards the ball when Chicago’s Chris Ritter put his arm out to stop him. Martins and Ritter were in each other’s faces, and when Seattle players came to break it up, Segares came up and gave Martins a light shove, angering the Nigerian even more. In the midst of the resulting confrontation, Joya also came up and pushed Martins.
Neither Segares nor Joya was issued a yellow card for that incident, but Ritter and Martins were booked.
Martins, who scored two goals in Seattle’s 3-2 win, received a straight red card in the 42nd minute following a Chicago goal and has been fined for failing to leave the pitch in a timely manner. When Penso issued the red card, Martins punted the ball and then turned around multiple times as his teammates tried to escort him off. This was the climactic incident of the second mass confrontation.
Chicago’s Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was issued a second yellow card in the 37th minute after originally being booked in the 24th. He was also fined by the league for failing to leave in a timely manner. Hurtado’s committed a two-footed challenge on Martins in the penalty area. After receiving the red card, Hurtado stayed on the field for nearly a minute to argue with Penso while being forcibly restrained by teammate Bakary Soumare.
As Penso blew for full time in the 98th minute, Chicago’s Jeff Larentowicz put his hand on the head and face of Seattle’s Gonzalo Pineda. This incident also resulted in a fine from MLS.
The Disciplinary Committee also issued a one-match suspension and a fine to Colorado’s Dillon Serna for a reckless challenge on FC Dallas’ Victor Ulloa during their match last Saturday. Ulloa beat Serna with a one-on-one move in the midfield, after which Serna pulled him down with a sliding tackle from behind. Serna was issued a yellow card for the challenge.
Do you think the punishments issued to Seattle, Chicago and their players is fair? Could Penso have done more to get the match under control? Was Serna’s challenge worthy of a suspension?
Share your thoughts below.