By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid was suspended for one game and fined $2,000 by Major League Soccer on Friday for comments he made about referee Ricardo Salazar in the wake of Seattle’s scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
“Sigi Schmid’s comments earlier this week about the officiating were unacceptable,” commissioner Don Garber said in a press release. “MLS requires that its players, coaches and club leadership maintain proper respect for the officials at all times.”
In a televised interview at halftime, Schmid called Salazar Real Salt Lake’s “12th man.”
After the game, Schmid opened his press conference with a statement that made no mention of the referee. However, the first question was about the work of Salazar, who also had drawn Sounders’ complaints in August after controversial calls in the U.S. Open Cup loss to Kansas City.
“I don’t want any more questions about Salazar,” Schmid said. “But the thing is: Our fans know his name. If many fans know the name of the referee, I think that’s an indication. … It just seems that whenever something is 50-50, we don’t get the break with him.”
Later in the press conference Schmid volunteered, “Lord help us if we get Salazar in the playoffs.”
Schmid voiced two primary complaints Wednesday: Salazar’s failure to red card Chris Schuler for knocking down Fredy Montero when he seemed to have a free path to the goal, and allowing RSL to take a corner kick after the announced two minutes of stoppage time had played out.
Schmid also had questioned whether there had been a Salt Lake handball in the penalty box, but he allowed he hadn’t yet seen a replay. He also said he had no specific complaint on two cautions issued to defender Zach Scott, which left the Sounders shorthanded over the final 60 minutes.
The club said it will have no statement regarding the league’s action.
Schmid will serve his suspension Sunday, when FC Dallas visits CenturyLink Field. Top assistant Brian Schmetzer will assume the head coaching duties.
Three Sounders called to international duty last week were back in training Friday, all with stories to tell.
Forward Eddie Johnson and midfielder Mario Martinez each scored two goals over two games with the United States and Honduras national teams, respectively.
“It’s great to be selected. The game was great,” said Martinez. “Scoring the two goals, that kind of justifies the selection. … (A) goal will come with Seattle. When it does — great.”
Defender Adam Johansson didn’t draw any playing time, but he had a close-up view of Sweden’s four-goal rally for a 4-4 draw with Germany.
Defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (facial fracture) trained Friday with a specially designed protective mask and declared himself ready to go. Schmid said the primary issue is Hurtado’s comfort with the mask, as there is little chance of aggravating the injury. … Midfielder Steve Zakuani (oblique strain) returned to training, but defender Patrick Ianni (calf) remained out and with no timetable for his return.