U.S. men's national team captain and Seattle Sounders Designated Player Clint Dempsey claims he was trying to swat away Mark Bloom's hand and nothing more. Maybe so, but that's not how the MLS Disciplinary Committee viewed things.
Dempsey was suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount for his off-the-ball punch to Bloom's groin in Saturday's 2-1 loss to Toronto FC, ruling him out of Seattle's match at Montreal on Saturday and following home match against the Columbus Crew. He will be able to return in time for Seattle's first clash with rival Portland on April 5, though it will come three days after he presumably will play for the U.S. national team against Mexico. Given his suspension, he'll surely be well-rested for the World Cup tune-up bout with El Tri.
Dempsey wasn't the only MLS player suspended Friday, either.
New York Red Bulls defender Armando was fined will be forced to miss one game for elbowing Colorado's Deshorn Brown, and Chicago Fire defender Lovel Palmer was suspended a pair of games and fined for violent conduct in a clash with Portland's Maximiliano Urruti.
Per MLS' press release:
Through the MLS Players Union, both Dempsey and Palmer submitted appeals, and in both cases, the Committee’s decisions were upheld. Prior to the start of the 2014 season, the Board of Governors approved policy such that any player receiving a Red Card for Violent Conduct or adjudged unanimously by the Discipline Committee to be an unequivocal Red Card for Violent Conduct will be automatically suspended for at least his next two regular season or playoff games and receive a fine.