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Following red card, Schmid says Dempsey is targeted by opposition

Photo by Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

Clint Dempsey is a competitive guy, one who consistently brings a fiery personality to the field in every game he plays. Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid has seen that personality first-hand for nearly three years, and believes opposing teams are doing their best to take advantage of it.

Dempsey was issued a red card on Thursday night as the Sounders toppled FC Dallas, 5-0. After registering a goal and an assist, Dempsey was sent to the locker room for violent conduct, with referee Ricardo Salazar telling reporters after the match that Dempsey was sent off for striking an opponent in the face. Replays clearly show Dempsey lightly slapping FC Dallas’ Juan Esteban Ortiz in the back of the head just before Ortiz collapses while holding his face.

It wasn’t Dempsey’s first incident as a member of the Sounders. Last season, Dempsey earned a suspension for tearing a referee’s notebook in a U.S. Open Clash, but Wednesday’s dismissal was Dempsey’s first ever in MLS play.

While Schmid didn’t want to comment too much on the incident without seeing a replay, the Sounders boss said he believed Ortiz began the altercation with a hard elbow prior to Dempsey making contact with Ortiz.

“He competes,” Schmid said during his postgame press conference. “He’s also often times a target. I think people forget that the opponent sometimes target him so they put a little bit extra into it. I think the protection from the referees has to be there as well.”

Prior to the dismissal, Dempsey was having one of his best games of the season. After scoring the game’s opener via a penalty kick, Dempsey set up Jordan Morris for the game’s third goal, all but putting away a shorthanded FC Dallas team.

“He was good. We wanted him to play a little bit more on the left wing, push up there and stay wider,” Schmid said. “Obviously, he came through statistically very, very well. I thought he had a good game and had some good moments for us. His passing helped us today.”

The red card will now force the Sounders take on the Portland Timbers without one of their biggest stars. Barring a successful appeal, Dempsey will miss out on a major game just as the Sounders appeared to turn things around. Following Wednesday’s lopsided win, the Sounders sit ninth out West, six points behind the rival Timbers with two games in hand.

“We’re as well positioned as we can be. Obviously, we’d prefer to have Clint for that game because he’s a big-game player, and it’s a big game,” Schmid added. “I know he thrives on those situations, but we’re going to have to make do without him.”

What do you think of the Dempsey red card? How will the Sounders replace him against the Timbers?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. How about this? You dive and get a player sent off…you get fined the paycheck portion for the game that player misses (including the portion of the current game)? And the fine goes directly to that team.
    Two yellow card dives that get a player sent off, and the two divers split the payment.

  2. If you grab your face and fall down, and there’s no blood or mark on your face, you should be suspended, period. That stuff brings the whole game into disrepute.

  3. I do agree that Dempsey has done his share of diving and feigning injury. I wish we could remove this from the game. I would even be in favor of a rule that say if they stop the game for an injury, the injured player can’t come back on the field for 5-7 minutes. I know this might encourage physical play, but not if you dealt with that appropriately as well. I am tired of seeing guys do three cartwheels, 5 barrel rolls, scream in agony and then pop up and make a run down the line. It’s not a good solution, but I am for something being done. Any ideas???

    • Occasionally the NBA will retroactively fine players for flopping. Nothing gets somebody’s attention quicker than docking their paycheck…

  4. should have been a yellow on Dallas’ player and that’s it.

    acting and over-reactive refs.. not a fan of this if your hand does anything you get a red rule..

  5. That’s a preposterous red card. Ortiz better hope he’s playing on Wed in the USOC game against the Dynamo and not on the bench because I plan on harassing him all night long

  6. For as much as we vilify flopping, it seems if Dempsey had gone down clutching is throat in agonizing, near death pain, that there would only be one red card and a 11 on 9 advantage.

  7. Two thoughts: 1) The play by Ortiz was calculated and purposeful. Watch the video, he watches the ball leave dempsey’s foot and continues his movement into Dempsey’s groin/thigh area. He knew exactly what he was doing down 3-0. Referees need to have some awareness of the time and score of a game. Dempsey needs to control himself more. That being said, he did next to nothing. 2) As long as FIFA/MLS allow players to “simulate” contact and injuries without any punishment, more and more quality players will be neutralized by less skilled players. I don’t like the NBA, but one thing they have focused on is protecting the guys people want to see. In some cases to the extreme allowing 3 or 4 steps on a drive (aka LEBRON). But I think MLS would do well to protect players more.

    • Well, Ortiz did get a yellow, whether for the ridiculous over reaction or the first foul we don’t know. Dempsey should know better, especially after what happened to J Jones in the Copa America. No hands to the head or face.

      • Bingo! Once again Gary is the rational mind! Taking into account Dempsey beyond intent actually makes contact with opponents face. Instant red!

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