A day before the Seattle Sounders fly to the Midwest to take on Sporting Kansas City (Sunday at 1 p.m. PT; ESPN, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM), the MLS Disciplinary Committee announced that Clint Dempsey’s suspension has been extended an additional match. Dempsey had already served his one-match suspension against the Montreal Impact on March 31 after recording a red card for violent conduct against FC Dallas last month.
“We will miss Clint, I didn’t think he deserved a red card —he was slapping [Jacori Hayes’] hand away — and I don’t think it should have been two [matches],” Head Coach Brian Schmetzer told media on Thursday afternoon. “We’re just trying to push past it. I don’t agree with it. At this point in time, we have to focus on Sporting KC.”
It’s a tough break for a club that is still looking for a spark in 2018. Goalless through three MLS matches, the Sounders have opened the campaign with three losses and now head into Sunday’s match without their top goalscorer from last season.
“You always plan for the worst-case scenario,” Schmetzer said. “You always hope for the best. Again, we are pushing past it.”
Considering the instance took place nearly a month ago, the timing of the ruling seems noteworthy. Schmetzer alluded to “chatter back and forth” between the club and the MLS Discipline Committee, and the Sounders were aware that this was a possibility.
“We’ve had ongoing conversations with them, and I would say to save the outrage for the content of the decision as opposed to the timing of the decision,” General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said.
“I say that, obviously, from my own opinion,” he added. “When I saw it initially I thought it was a soft call. 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.”
The Sounders will also be without Kelvin Leerdam, who recorded a red card last match and is serving a one-game suspension.
"Whether it’s just or not, that’s the decision the Disciplinary Committee rendered and we’ve got to move on and beat Kansas City this weekend," Lagerwey said.