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MLS Disciplinary Committee suspends Rivas, fines Wondolowski

NelsonRivas (AP)

It was only a matter of time before Nelson Rivas received a decision from the MLS Disciplinary Committee on his headbutt of the Philadelphia Union's Antoine Hoppenot, and as expected, the Montreal Impact defender faced some harsh punishment.

Rivas was suspended for two additional games, on top of the automatic one-game suspension that accompanies his red card, MLS announced Thursday. Rivas was issued the ejection on Saturday, when he headbutted Hoppenot. The Union's Jack McInerney also saw red when he retaliated on Hoppenot's behalf, but McInerney will see no further suspension. The Disciplinary Committee also fined Rivas an undisclosed amount.

Also fined on Thursday was San Jose Earthquakes striker and MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski. The Disciplinary Committee issued him the fine in response to his criticism of officiating following the Earthquakes' 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 22.

The fines will be donated to the charity partners of MLS W.O.R.K.S. and the MLS Players Union.

What do you think of these developments? Was an additional two-game suspension fair for Rivas? Should the Disciplinary Committee have fined Wondolowski for his comments on officiating?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. What is the logic in using your head as a weapon to attack another player? Doesn’t MLS care enough about the health and safety of its players, even those stupid enough to use their head as a weapon, to put a stop to this?

  2. He should be suspended 5 total games… and required to pay for Antoine’s surgery and medical bills. Not the insurance, not the Union, not Hoppenot…. RIVAS.

  3. Headbutts and all physical altercations should be a mandatory 5 game suspension. MLS needs to protect it’s players.

  4. JacMac coming in after the fact is fully reprehensible in my book. I get the whole ‘protecting your bud’ theory, but there’s absolutely no need for it – let the ref do his job.

  5. I can understand where you are coming from, but I also see the point of view of the league, saying that conduct against an official is worse than conduct towards another player.

    I’m on the fence.

  6. It was the right decision to fine Chris Wondolowski.

    Wondo’s comments alleged a bias on the part of the assistant ref. Jon Busch was critical of the ref’s decision but wasn’t fined. Why? He was commenting on the facts of the incident (that the ref, 4 yards away, would let the assistant call it from the sideline).

    One thing no pro league will ever let slide is someone accusing referee’s of being biased in some manner.

  7. The suspension rules should be changed so that one of the games the player misses is the next game he faces against the opponent he committed the offense against. Rivas breaks Hoppenot’s nose and get’s a red . . . and the teams that benefit from his suspension are New England, San Jose and DC United. He should serve two immediately and the third whenever he faces the team he committed the foul against, even if it’s the following year or the player is on another team. Just my opinion of a better way to apply the rule.

  8. Defending MLS refs? LOL. That’s like saying Jason Kreis isn’t a crybaby.. it just doesn’t compute. Also Rivas should have been punished far worse.

  9. With a sigh I don’t even feel like I need to have seen the SJ v Van game to believe and side with Wondo. Quality officiating crews in the MLS seem to be few and far between.


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