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Clint Dempsey receives lengthy ban from U.S. Open Cup

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Dempsey won't be eligible to play in Open Cup until at least 2018.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Dempsey won't be playing in the U.S. Open Cup anytime soon. With Dempsey set to serve the final game of his three-match ban from MLS play on Sunday, the Open Cup's Adjudication and Discipline Panel announced that he'll be banned from their competition for six games or two years, whichever is longer. Dempsey was also fined an undisclosed amount.

The punishment stems from incidents surrounding the Sounders' 3-1 extra-time loss to the Portland Timbers on June 15. With the Sounders already playing down two men and trailing by a goal in extra time, Micheal Azira was shown a straight red card. Dempsey protested the punishment, appeared to remove referee Daniel Radford's logbook from his pocket and was shown a yellow. Dempsey then picked up the logbook and ripped it to shreds, promptly earning a red card.

Dempsey will now be ineligible to play in any Open Cup matches in 2016 or 2017 and possibly longer if his team fails to compete in at least six matches over that time. The ban is effectively the same length as the one Cuauhtemoc Blanco received for allegedly head-butting an operations official after being red carded in 2008. Blanco also was banned two years or six games, whichever was greater.