Klopas, Anibaba accept suspension after Seattle scuffle
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Chicago Fire defender Jalil Anibaba and head coach Frank Klopas won’t appeal the one-game suspensions they received for their parts in a scuffle after last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Seattle. As a result, both will miss Friday’s game against Chivas USA (11 pm ET, ESPN Deportes).
RED CARD: Anibaba tackles Gonzalez
Anibaba didn’t realize he had received a red card until members of the Fire’s communication staff told him on Sunday.
“It’s a bit interesting that I found out [on Sunday] as opposed to during the game or just after," Anibaba said, "but that’s the decision, and there’s not much I can do about it now.”
Anibaba was officially dismissed for a late tackle on Leo González just before the final whistle blew in the Fire’s 2-1 loss, and both teams gathered and began pushing and shoving. However, the referee did not show Anibaba the actual red card due to the scuffle that broke out between the two teams after the whistle.
During the scrum, Klopas ran out and had words for referee Michael Kennedy.
“I said some things, for sure,” Klopas said. “Unfortunately, it was in the heat of the moment. You can’t take that back. I was a little bit surprised [about the suspension] because I didn’t know anything about it, but I respect the decision that the league has made.”
Assistant coaches Leo Percovich and Mike Matkovich will take over for Klopas against Chivas USA, and rookie center back Austin Berry will start in Anibaba’s place. Klopas can be in the locker room before, after and during halftime of Friday’s game but can’t be on the field or communicate with anyone on the field.
Seattle forward Eddie Johnson was fined by the league for making an inappropriate gesture at fans after the game, but no Sounders’ players have been suspended.
“I don’t think there was malintention from any party," Anibaba said. "It’s just unfortunate that we got the short end of the stick.”