Clint Dempsey will not play for the Seattle Sounders when they travel Sunday to face Sporting Kansas City. The MLS Disciplinary Committee suspended Dempsey an additional match and issued an undisclosed fine for violent conduct in the 37th minute of Seattle’s match against FC Dallas on March 18, according to a statement released Thursday.
Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey accepted the Disciplinary Committee’s decision, but disagreed with it in principle in an interview Thursday.
“When I saw the red card, I thought it was a soft call,” Lagerwey said. “When you have things that are reviewed on video replay, there is an understandable institutional reluctance to reverse plays that have been reviewed by replay. Specifically when we talk about appeals, you have to prove things. My opinion doesn’t matter, it’s what I can prove. When a play has been reviewed it is very difficult to prove the opposite.
“I think folks have to make their own decision. Whether you think the decision with Dempsey was just or not, that’s the decision that the disciplinary committee rendered, and we’ve got to move on and beat Kansas City this weekend.”
MLS clubs are unable to appeal suspensions added on top of an ejection. Those appeals fall under the purview of the MLS Players’ Union, which reportedly did not appeal Dempsey’s two-match suspension.
It appears the club was aware of Dempsey’s suspension before the news became public Thursday. Head coach Brian Schmetzer could not provide a precise timeline for when the league notified the club, but said he was not aware Dempsey would miss two games before Seattle’s match against the Montreal Impact March 31.
“There was chatter back and forth,” Schmetzer said Thursday. “Those are things that are above my pay grade. I let Garth and (sporting director Chris Henderson) do it. The disciplinary committee, I can’t call them. Again, I’ll just repeat that we’ll miss Clint, I didn’t think it deserved a red card. He was slapping his hand away, and I don’t think it should have been two.”
Dempsey received the red card for an apparent low blow against FC Dallas defender Jacori Hayes. He also was issued an additional undisclosed fine for visual dissent.