Clint Dempsey will be available for the home leg of the Western Conference semifinals, after all. Although the MLS Disciplinary Committee fined Dempsey for “failure to leave the field in an orderly manner” following his ejection on Sunday, they did not feel as though anything he did rose to the level to warrant an added suspension.
Clint Dempsey fined by MLS Disciplinary Committee, but won't be suspended added games pic.twitter.com/Hka2zHOf2a— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) October 24, 2017
There had been some speculation that Dempsey could get added games, either for the elbow itself or for his reaction. After VAR determined that Dempsey should be ejected, he clapped in the face of referee Chris Penso, went nose-to-nose with Mike da Fonte — the player he struck — exchanged a few more words with the ref, acted like he was going to kick the ball and then walked off the pitch.
Up until that point, Dempsey had been having an outstanding match. He had already been credited with one assist and would have had another if Will Bruin’s shot hadn’t hit the post.
Although no date has been made official, the Sounders are most likely to open their postseason on Oct. 29. Dempsey will have to sit out that match. The Sounders will either travel to play the Vancouver Whitecaps or the winner of the Houston Dynamo-Sporting KC match. The home leg of the series will be played on Nov. 2.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer had this to say about the incident on Tuesday:
“He does have remorse for the play. He told me what happened, said the guy got him in the eye and then he was trying to shove him out of the way and his elbow slipped up a little high. It was not a deliberate cocked elbow. I think everyone can see that. We spoke about how important he is to the team and to the group and that he needs to make sure he’s aware of that kind of stuff that goes on.
“But at the same time we need to make sure games don’t get out of hand either. It’s a two-way street. Would I have loved for Clint to have made a different decision? Yes, absolutely and he’d admit culpability. But at the same time he gets kicked every game. He has a target on his back maybe because they know he’s got a temper. There’s a fine balance there. I want my guys to play hard. One of the reasons Clint Dempsey is who he is is because he plays hard. Sometimes when you play on the edge there, you make some mistakes.”