MLS Disciplinary Committee Issues Week 1 Suspensions

Zubar and Bolaños suspended, Brillant fined, and Houston head coach Coyle’s dismissal appealed all in MLS’ first week

Fans are already well aware of the six to eight game suspension of Colorado Rapids’ Jermaine Jones after assaulting an official, but after only the first week of the MLS season, the MLS Disciplinary Committee has already issued suspensions and fines for three players. Well that didn’t take long… did it? It’ll probably not come as a shock to any of the fans that watched the matches that the players who were suspended and fined were involved in.

The New York Red Bulls defender Ronald Zubar has been fined and suspended for one game after “serious foul play that endangered the safety of an opponent” during the Red Bulls’ MLS opening day match against the Toronto FC on Sunday.

The foul occurred in the 47th minute for an extremely dirty, likely poorly timed, slide tackle against Toronto’s Daniel Lovitz. Lovitz received a decent pass that most likely would’ve resulted in a pretty decent break away for Toronto before the foul from Zubar. At the time of the play, Zubar was issued a yellow card by the officials and New York Red Bulls went on to lose the match 2-0. The fine amount is undisclosed, but Zubar will be serving his suspension during Saturday’s match against the Montreal Impact.

Suspension number two was issued to Vancouver Whitecaps’ midfielder Christian Bolaños after his serious foul against Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman. The foul took place in the 62nd minute of the Whitecaps’ opening day 2-3 loss against the Impact. Bolaños, after receiving a pass, got called for a hard tackle on Ciman.

Bolaños looked to the officials in disbelief in apparent hopes of the foul to actually have been called on Ciman. In addition to the suspension, an undisclosed fine has been issued to the midfielder. Bolaños’ suspension will be served during Vancouver’s match against Kansas City on Saturday.

In concurrence with the suspensions of Zubar and Bolaños, the MLS Disciplinary Committee issued an undisclosed fine to New York City FC’s defender Frederic Brillant after a play resulted in the violation of the league’s policy of no “hands to the face, head, or neck of an opponent” when Brillant made contact to the head from behind with Chicago Fire’s defender João Meira. The violation came in the 52nd minute of NYCFC’s opening day 4-3 win over the Chicago Fire.

In other news, the Houston Dynamo appealed head coach Owen Coyle’s dismissal and suspension and the Disciplinary Committee rescinded the punishment allowing Coyle to be eligible to coach from the technical area on Saturday against rival FC Dallas. Coyle was dismissed in the second half of stoppage time against New England on Sunday for irresponsible behavior in the technical area.

Oct 18, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle runs onto the field prior to the game against the Seattle Sounders FC at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

What do these suspensions and fines mean for the momentum of the rest of the MLS season? Rightfully so, the MLS is taking violation of safety rules very seriously when it come to protecting their athletes, but ultimately, I don’t expect to see less physical matches, less elbows thrown, or any less penalties. After all, this is soccer we are talking about!

To keep up with the MLS’ Discipline Reports click here.