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MLS Disciplinary Committee punishes Fire, Sounders for altercations

Seattle Sounders FC forward Obafemi Martins (9)

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The Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders violated Major League Soccer’s mass confrontation policy on Saturday, the league’s Disciplinary Committee has determined.

This is Seattle’s second violation this season, resulting in a fine for both the club and manager Sigi Schmid. Chicago, a first-time offender this season, has been issued an official warning.

Chicago defender Gonzalo Segares and midfielder Benji Joya were fined by the committee after being declared responsible for the first altercation of the match.

Referee Chris Penso awarded a free kick to Chicago in the seventh minute. Sounders forward Obafemi Martins lunged towards the ball when Chicago’s Chris Ritter put his arm out to stop him. Martins and Ritter were in each other’s faces, and when Seattle players came to break it up, Segares came up and gave Martins a light shove, angering the Nigerian even more. In the midst of the resulting confrontation, Joya also came up and pushed Martins.

Neither Segares nor Joya was issued a yellow card for that incident, but Ritter and Martins were booked.

Martins, who scored two goals in Seattle’s 3-2 win, received a straight red card in the 42nd minute following a Chicago goal and has been fined for failing to leave the pitch in a timely manner. When Penso issued the red card, Martins punted the ball and then turned around multiple times as his teammates tried to escort him off. This was the climactic incident of the second mass confrontation.

Chicago’s Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was issued a second yellow card in the 37th minute after originally being booked in the 24th. He was also fined by the league for failing to leave in a timely manner. Hurtado’s committed a two-footed challenge on Martins in the penalty area. After receiving the red card, Hurtado stayed on the field for nearly a minute to argue with Penso while being forcibly restrained by teammate Bakary Soumare.

As Penso blew for full time in the 98th minute, Chicago’s Jeff Larentowicz put his hand on the head and face of Seattle’s Gonzalo Pineda. This incident also resulted in a fine from MLS.

The Disciplinary Committee also issued a one-match suspension and a fine to Colorado’s Dillon Serna for a reckless challenge on FC Dallas’ Victor Ulloa during their match last Saturday. Ulloa beat Serna with a one-on-one move in the midfield, after which Serna pulled him down with a sliding tackle from behind. Serna was issued a yellow card for the challenge.


Do you think the punishments issued to Seattle, Chicago and their players is fair? Could Penso have done more to get the match under control? Was Serna’s challenge worthy of a suspension?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Refs have the hardest job of seeing everything from a players perspective, and are biased like any other human. BUT since there is only ONE ref and 40,000 fans, guess who seems to know more? I dont want to see the game slow, and after the fact analysis should eventually discourage acting out on the field… but when the violence is allow over and over, the sport degrades. The ref has to control that physicallity that many fans enjoy. It used to be “charging from the rear” was a red card, now it is common day practice, and off ball fouls never seem to get called. SO where is the problem, the referees and lack there of…

  2. Referees need to be fined for poor performances and/or removed from officiating matches for a period. It is the only way they will be more vigilant and purposeful in decisions. Fining teams and coaches who protest poor officiating is not the answer.

    • Totally agree about sanctions on poor referees. We have too many low caliber & weak referees in MLS. watch any MLS game and you can see the lack of quality referees in our league. There are too many Missed calls, No calls, & Phantom calls.
      They unfortunately impact the outcome of too many games.
      MLS needs to make this a top priority. I’m concerned about the impact of several new Teams joining MLS and the lack of QUALITY referees.
      My sense is it will get worst and the Diciplinary Committee will have tons of issues to deal with every week. We Need Better Refs!!!

  3. So has any video surfaced yet of what actually got Martins ejected? I don’t think the ref saw the incident and gave a red based off the reactions which just isn’t right.

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