MLS- San Jose Earthquakes

Lenhart hit with two-match ban for latest antics

StephenLenhart (ISIPhotos.com)


A player making contact with a player’s head with his foot might have been seen as accidental if it involved a player with a sparkling disciplinary record, but when the offending party has a reptuation and track record like Steven Lenhart’s, it was tough to see him getting the benefit of the doubt.

Major League Soccer’s disciplinary committee suspended Lenhart for two matches for kicking Chivas USA’s Mario DeLuna as the two battled for the ball. Lenhart escaped punished for the incident during the match, but when the play was reviewed it was determined that Lenhart was guilty of violent conduct that endangered the safety of his opponent.

Here is video footage the incident.

The suspension will case Lenhart to miss the Earthquakes’ upcoming matches vs. Montreal and Toronto FC.

What do you think of this development? See the punishment as harsh, or do you think Lenhart was punished for a track record of bad behavior and therefore wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Jim

    Quakes are starting to show their true colors! Gordon first, now the other bash brother… they are right to call them goons


  • ChiTown

    At what point does the league start leveling fines and suspensions at the coaching staff–something of a lack of institutional control type of thing.


  • David St. Hubbins

    overkill by the DC. it’s a contact sport. clearly unintentional, they just assume it’s intentional b/c of Lenhart’s reputation.


  • KarenB

    Harsh… I don’t think there was much he could do, DeLuna slid underneath him and they got tangled. IMO and as a Chivas fan, I don’t see any intent, it appears purely accidental


    • chris_thebassplayer

      As a Quakes fan, it was purely intentional. De Luna gave him a backhanded sucker punch to the face earlier in the game, it was payback…and not very subtle. Frankly, I’ve seen that move pulled off much smoother in the local mex league, it’s a classic.


    • TomG

      Definitely intentional. He clearly dragged the foot the first time the same way strikers will drag the foot looking for contact so they can draw a penalty. Then he makes it comically obvious as he DIVES back on top Deluna FOR NO REASON! To get the ball quickly for the throw in, you say? Clearly not, since he looks right at the referee once he retrieves the ball in order bat his eyes innocently. What a tool. Add to that, the fact that Lenhart and Gordon pull this stuff all the time and I think you have to be a serious SJ homer to not see the intent.


  • JR

    For Lenhart, this was relatively clean. Really hard for me to feel bad though.


  • BigBirdLenny

    My commenting name might show my bias, but it looks to me like Lenny thought he was bringing the ball with him, not DeLuna’s head. His antics are controversial and irritating to opposing players and fans, but I really don’t think the guy tries to harm or injure other players. The self-righteousness of fans for other teams regarding Lenhart is sometimes unbearable.

    It seems pretty clear in the video that he’s not looking at DeLuna, doesn’t know his head is there, and is either trying to drag the ball with him or turn around and get the ball.


    • burnsbabe

      You really don’t think he’s trying to do harm? Have you watched him play before? He does something like this in essentially every match he’s a part of. Just the other week he kicked Will Johnson while he was down in an entirely off the ball sequence and saw no repercussions for it. At the very least (if he is truly innocent) he needs to learn to be way more careful.


      • swift

        Are you serious, the so called kick to Will Johnson was at best a nudge to get will up from flaying in the ground looking for a call. DeLuna was dirty all game as well as this hard tackle from behind on the line.This is purely the league listening to the PNW support groups and all there online complaining and stories of events! Can wee stop acting like the NFL owners group and let there be some contact…Please?!?!


      • Gary

        Yes because a nudge with your foot to a guy on the ground would obviously be ok, right? The league certainly coddles those PNWers, though, just look how often the Timbers get penalty kicks.

        Can you get your testosterone contact fix from gridiron football…Please?!?! Some of us watch for the ball skills.


  • chad

    lenhart’s a cancer that only reduces the overall quality of MLS; this ban proves how embarrassed the league is to have to claim him.


  • Joseph

    Sorry folks who think Lenhart’s a little angel boy, but if professional soccer players have mastery over one thing, it’s controlling their feet. He clearly knew that his shoe was making contact with the guy’s face, and tried to do it in a way that looked natural. He gambled and lost. He’s like, “Oops…gosh…I’m just dragging my foot along and minding my own business and some dude’s face somehow got caught up in there. I have no idea how that was even possible!?!”

    Let’s face it, I think most every soccer player has done it. I remember a goalie teammate of mine back when we were about 14 who used to wear slick-surfaced keeper pants SPECIFICALLY so he could slide out to get the ball and then continue on sliding into some unsuspecting forward’s legs. I don’t remember him ever getting called on it because the refs we had were too unsophisticated to realize what he was doing.


  • Drew_OC

    USSoccer is knocking on his door to take over from Richie Williams with the U17’s…………


  • Phill

    I realize people hate Lenhart and love this ruling by the DC, but it’s absolutely ridiculous. The amount of disparity of opinion from the general MLS fanbase is a sign that the DC is way off on this one. It smells foul, and it’s troubling to think that the entire committee (which is some anonymous group of whoevers) unanimously voted to keep this player off the field. What a joke.


  • chris_thebassplayer

    Lenny lost his cool and went over the line. A more savvy ref would have given him a red on the spot.
    So one game would have been fine.


    • Chupacabra

      One game for the foul, an additional game for the ugly face and haircut.


  • vik

    The contact was inappropriate, Yallop subbed him off right after and seemed to have some harsh words for Lenhart. While his entire body of work leaves little room for sympathy, in this game Lenhart was on the receiving end of numerous fouls and this was his way of getting a little payback. Referees may be cautious protecting Lenhart given his history for instigating incidents, but in this game he was getting abused and lashed out to defend himself. Still, it was sloppy and improper, and I’m OK with the punishment… I just hope the referee reviewed the footage and learns from it.


  • Fat Albert

    Was there any consideration of the player with a history of embellishing slight contact? Deluna looked to be near death. Fortunately he is able to kiss his kids goodnight after the beating he took at the foot of Lenhart.
    It was unintentional. The embellishment seems to be first nature for players from certain parts of the world.


    • Conrad

      Wow. You’re an aßhole. Those dark players get so dramatic when you give ’em a good ol’ ‘Merican kick to the face, don’t they?


  • Tony in Quakeland

    Absolutely 100% unquestionably intentional. The suspension should have been longer.


    • ed - houston

      I don’t know what to say, i will go with the flow and say it was intentional, should have been a one game ban. However, his reputation (justified or not) probably got him 2 games.


      • Tony in Quakeland

        I don’t know. Kicking guys in the head outside of kung fu movies should be frowned upon, don’t you think?


  • Rowsdower

    He made no attempt to leap over the challenge and he drags his right leg to make contact. Pretty obvious to me.


    • Brain Guy

      Agree completely. And then he removed any doubt by diving on top of/across Deluna again.


  • Gnarls

    Hmmm, two games for two kick to the face? So that’s the going rate…


  • Richuardo

    How anyone can say that this incident was unintentional is beyond me. He clearly tries to hook his foot on Deluna, no question. I can’t stand this guy, he’s a menace, and gives all decent soccer players a bad name. He deserved every bit of that two game suspension, and he should be required to pay a fine, read a public apology, and receive some counseling, because dude has issues.


  • MMV

    I may be in the minority but I like Lenhart. He’s the guy on the other team you absolute hate but given the chance you’d have him on you squad. As for the suspension, it was warranted. He could have easily avoid the contact to Luna’s face. He could have fully jumped over him. He left that leg extended to make contact to provide a little love tap after a previous incident with Luna. It was a dumb move on Lenny’s part.


  • mark kenseth

    Intentional. Lenhart could have easily jumped over DeLuna. It even looks like Lenhard comes down on DeLuna’s head a second time while jumping back over him to grab the ball.


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