Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By MITCHELL NORTHAM
After winning all four MLS contests in July, August has gotten off to a rough start for D.C. United.
If back-to-back road losses to the Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake weren’t enough, it was announced Wednesday that MLS had handed down a two-game suspension and a fine of an undisclosed amount to forward Eddie Johnson for violent conduct towards Real Salt Lake defender Carlos Salcedo in the 30th minute of D.C. United’s 3-0 loss on Saturday.
While Salcedo was on the ground, Johnson kicked the ball at his back after the whistle. Johnson received a yellow card during the game for the incident.
The suspension comes just days after the 30-year-old designated player got into a heated exchange on Twitter with D.C. United fans. At one point, Johnson responded to a fan with a tweet that read, “I’m not here to please your town buddy.”
Johnson will miss upcoming MLS meetings against the Colorado Rapids and Eastern Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City. Although he will be eligible to play, it is unclear if Johnson will play in D.C. United’s CONCACAF Champion’s League group stage game against Waterhouse FC at RFK Stadium August 20.
For Johnson, the suspension marks another bump in the road in what has been a difficult season for him despite the success of the club. This is Johnson’s second suspension this season, with the first coming in May after he was disciplined for recklessly challenging Montreal Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
The season of ups and downs for the forward also included an exclusion from the United States Men’s National Team as coach Jurgen Klinsmann left Johnson off of his World Cup squad.
Johnson has scored just four goals in 19 games for D.C. United this year as well, a down year for him statistically compared to when he scored nine goals in 21 games last season with the Seattle Sounders and 14 goals the year prior in 28 appearances.
Without Johnson for the next two MLS contests, D.C. United will have to look to Chris Rolfe and Fabian Espindola – who recently returned from injury – for goal scoring chances. The pair has combined for 11 goals and 13 assists this season.
MLS has also suspended Montreal Impact midfielder Calum Mallace for one game and fined him an undisclosed amount for violating the league’s policy on entering the field of play, leaving the bench and technical area in the 42nd minute against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
What do you think of Johnson’s suspension? Did MLS get this one right?
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