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MLS Disciplinary Committee dishes out bevy of fines and suspensions, turns down Besler appeal


Photo by John Rieger/USA TODAY Sports


The MLS Disciplinary Committee sure had a busy week.

MLS announced Thursday a number of punishments for players and coaches for their actions in Week 1. In total, the league handed out seven fines, four suspensions and turned down an appeal.

Headlining those that will miss out on this weekend’s action are the Columbus Crew’s Tony Tchani and Colorado Rapids defender James Riley. The two MLS veterans were suspended and fined undisclosed amounts for challenges committed last weekend.

The league also handed out a fine to LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane for his celebration of a goal against the Chicago Fire. Meanwhile, Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath made his way on the fine list for entering the field of play in Sunday’s draw with New York City FC. Colorado Rapids defender Bobby Burling was also docked some of his pay for his failure to leave the field of play following his red card against the Philadelphia Union.

Additionally, a pair of assistant coaches will miss out on their team’s next outings, as Orlando City assistant Mark Watson and FC Dallas fitness coach Fabian Bazan have been suspended and fined for entering the field of play.

Finally, an independent review panel has ruled against Sporting Kansas City’s appeal of Matt Besler’s second yellow card against the New York Red Bulls. Besler will still miss out on Sporting KC’s match-up with FC Dallas on March 14.

What do you think of the league’s disciplinary decisions? Did they get everything right this week? Wishing the league would disclose the amount of the fines?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Two Rapids players suspended/fined AND the ref Silviu Petrescu suspended for 2 blown penalty calls. Philadelphia really got the raw shaft that match.

    • Where as you seeing that Petrescu is suspended?? There is nothing on PRO’s wesbitre regarding that info. I’ve heard this several places by fans but nothing concrete. FWIW, only 4 refs that had Week 1 assignments are on the schedule this week — Chapman, Marrufo, Geiger, and Toledo. Just because you are not assigned to matches the following week does not you are suspended. Petrescu wasn’t on top of his game in Week 1 but he was far from the top offender, one of which has been assigned to Week 2.

  2. WTH, the league is fining players for goal celebrations? To me goal celebrations are as much a part of the game as scoring the goal. What is this political correctness rearing it’s head in an adult professional league? Is someone in the league office afraid one of the 11 men on the opposite team is going to get offended? Let them get offended. Let it serve as motivation to score a goal of their own. Those are grown men playing in MLS, their mommies aren’t meeting them on the sidelines with sliced oranges and juice packs. If a youth league wants to teach sportsmanship let the goal celebrations be toned down there. But these are men playing in an adult professional league. They get paid to score goals. Let them celebrate.

    • he did the universal sign for up yours to either fans, or to a team of players making less than he is combined whos controlled salary allows for his wages, who is being a grown man here and who isnt? There is nothing adult or professional about this specific behavior, Soapbox Javier

  3. Just to clear something up here on the second Besler yellow card. The comment from the color guy “Referee didn’t play advantage which he should’ve done” the referee cannot play advantage in this situation according to FIFA. If you’re going to send off a player unless there is an obvious chance of an IMMEDIATE goal, and it must be immediate you have to stop play and send the player off. That’s FIFAs instruction, the referee followed it.

    Imagine if defense caught up, the players cross was blacked and then there was a counter, and Besler ended up scoring the goal. Then the referee has to send him off, and it’s a REAL huge mess.

    • Dustin, I don’t think this is quite right. The section on advantage in Law 5 begins with this clear overarching principle for referees. “The referee may play advantage WHENEVER an infringement or offence occurs.”

      Law 5 does acknowledge that the severity of a foul should be considered when the referee decides about whether to apply advantage to a given situation, but gives more latitude than you suggest. “If the infringement warrants an expulsion, the referee must stop play and send off the player UNLESS there is a SUBSEQUENT opportunity to score a goal.” The language about an IMMEDIATE, promising attack is a separate bullet that is not as directly related to the severity of the foul, as your comment claims.

      With the wide range of latitude referees are given, he could have let things play out if he wanted to and still come back to book Besler and send him off at the next stoppage of play. Ultimately, it was a judgement call and not a clear FIFA instruction.


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