UPDATE: Sam Stejskal confirmed that Tim Melia had originally been suspended two games but got it reduced on appeal.
The MLS Disciplinary Committee announced a one-game suspension and undisclosed fine for Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia, after he body-slammed Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan during a goal-mouth scrum on Saturday. Melia was only shown a yellow card in the game with the officiating crew determining that the action fell short of “brutality” that would have warranted a red card.
This was ruled a yellow. pic.twitter.com/WECuXagMVB— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) October 23, 2021
Melia will miss Wednesday’s home game against the LA Galaxy, a match he could have theoretically been planning to rest for anyway. Sporting KC are 2-2-1 without Melia this year.
Although the Disciplinary Committee needed to be unanimous in its decision that the incident was “a clear and unequivocal red card” they opted for the lightest possible punishment. The one-game suspension is effectively less of a punishment than Melia would have received if he had been shown a red card in the game. The only additional punishment he received was a fine for an undisclosed amount. MLS fines are rarely more than a few hundred dollars.
In issuing its ruling, the Disciplinary Committee only called the incident “violent conduct” and gave no rationale for its decision beyond the procedural questions surrounding which part of the code justified any punishment at all. This apparently falls under “Parameter 3” which says “Professional Referee Organization acknowledges an on-field Referee/Video Assistant Referee (VAR) error and the Committee is unanimous.”
Sounder at Heart has contacted the league office for further comment.