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Whitecaps player who head-locked Sounders will be fined, not suspended

MLS Disciplinary Committee finds Aly Ghazal violated league policy on hands to the head or face.

MLS: Western Conference Semifinal-Seattle Sounders at Vancouver Whitecaps Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Aly Ghazal has been fined an undisclosed amount for his double-headlock on Nicolas Lodeiro and Osvaldo Alonso during a scuffle late in Sunday’s match. The MLS Disciplinary Committee found that Ghazal violated the league’s policy on hands to the face, head or neck of an opponent.

The Disciplinary Committee has been consistent in the way they’ve punished this kind of act after the fact this year, though Kaka was notably shown a red card on video review for violating the same policy.

In this case, Ghazal didn’t seem to be using a ton of force to pull Lodeiro and Alonso away from the fracas. But, as Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer alluded to in comments to the media on Monday, it didn’t look entirely innocent either.

“I am anxiously awaiting the report because I thought that was wrong,” Schmetzer said.

Schmetzer also seemed to take issue with Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson’s seemingly testy exchange with Lodeiro shortly after the incident.

“We as a club, I as a head coach, don’t want to have any of that stuff happening,” Schmetzer said. “I think we have to act in a standard we set for ourselves. I would never talk to Carl’s players, I think that’s off-limits. I don’t need any chirping between the two benches, I think that’s just a distraction. We need to focus on what we do and how we coach, rather than what the opposing bench or team is doing.”

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