KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sporting Kansas City did not appeal Jacob Peterson's red card and automatic one-match suspension, stemming from his ejection last weekend at Montreal, but both club and player continue to maintain the winger's innocence.
Peterson (above), who had already come off the pitch, was ejected from the bench late in Sporting's scoreless draw with the Impact, for what referee Jorge Gonzalez ruled was “foul and abusive language.” That means he will have to miss Friday night's home match against Chicago, a high-stakes meeting between the two top teams in the Eastern Conference (8:30 pm ET, NBC Sports Network, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
“It is absurd I can be suspended for something I didn't say,” Peterson tweeted on Wednesday. He would have no further comment on the issue, the club told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday afternoon.
Manager Peter Vermes defended Peterson immediately after the Montreal match, saying the forward hadn't said anything worthy of ejection, and repeated that defense during Thursday's weekly news conference.
“Because there was no one there to corroborate what was actually said, it's going to go based on what the referee thinks he heard,” Vermes said. “It's unfortunate for the player, for the team, for everyone – but I stand behind Jake because I was standing right there.”
Peterson's suspension comes just as he was getting back into form, making his first start since sustaining a right shoulder sprain in late July.
Sporting will get midfielder Roger Espinoza back for the Fire match, though, after his one-match suspension for yellow-card accumulation. That still didn't mollify Vermes.
“I'd still love to have Jacob be part of the game,” he said. “One guy coming back doesn't make up for the wrong. Getting Roger back is a plus for us. But at the same time, not having Jake available is still not a good thing.”
No Convey just yet
Bobby Convey's return to the pitch from a right hamstring strain will be delayed by one more week, Vermes said on Thursday, but he should be on the gameday roster for Sporting's away match against Columbus on Oct. 7.
“Bobby is very close,” Vermes said. “I'm not going to put him in the 18 [against Chicago]. I want him to have one more week of training, but I'm almost 100 percent sure that he'll be a part of next week's 18, barring anything else happening. He was very close to entering the 18 this weekend.”
Convey, who returned to full training this week, has already missed seven league matches since pulling up lame in the opening minutes of a 1-0 road win over New England on Aug. 4. He had to sit out eight more earlier in the season with a series of calf strains.
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.