By John Boyle
Sounders midfielder Clint Dempsey, who has a goal and an assist in Seattle’s first two games, is facing a two-game suspension according to the Toronto Sun. The Sun report doesn’t specify what Dempsey has been suspended for, but it would likely have to do with an incident in which Dempsey struck Toronto FC’s Mark Bloom below the belt.
Dempsey said after the game that the low-blow was an accident, explaining, “I felt a hand on my back, tried to hit it away. I thought I was hitting his hand away. I understand that maybe I did catch him a little bit, I apologized to him about that. All I was trying to do was swipe his had from my back.”
Asked about the reported suspension Wednesday, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said, “There’s nothing we can say officially at this stage, so we’ve got to wait until the league makes an announcement… We know that it’s being looked at, and they’re going to come to a decision here.”
A league spokesperson said via email that any discipline would be announced Thursday, but that if there is an appeal, news likely wouldn’t be announced until Friday. The Sounders would presumably appeal a suspension of their best player for an incident he contends was accidental, which could make things tricky for them seeing as they fly Thursday to Montreal. Schmid said they hope such an appeal would be resolved before they leave town Thursday, though it appears that may not happen.
Schmid also said he hopes the league takes into the account not just that incident, but the amount of fouls Dempsey was on the receiving end of in Saturday’s game and this season overall. Dempsey has been fouled 10 times in two games, and the Sounders have been fouled a league-high 50 times, 25 in each game.
“Obviously if you’re missing a player like Clint, it’s an important piece of the puzzle for your team,” Schmid said. “At this stage, when you look at minutes played, he’s the most fouled player in the league, and our team is the most fouled team in the league. So hopefully that gets taken into account a little bit as well. He’s an important part of our team for sure.”