TUKWILA, Wash. — Despite a report claiming Clint Dempsey had been suspended for two games, the Seattle Sounders star’s immediate future remains unclear.
Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid would only acknowledge that the MLS Disciplinary Committee was “looking at” taking action against Dempsey after an incident involving him and Toronto FC defender Mark Bloom in the Sounders' 2-1 loss to Toronto FC.
The Sounders are scheduled to leave for Montreal on Thursday for their match against the Impact (Saturday, 4 pm ET; Univision Deportes in US, RDS in Canada), but it wasn’t clear to Schmid if there would be a final decision by the time they need to board their plane.
“We’ve asked for it to be resolved before it’s time to get on the plane,” Schmid told reporters at training on Wednesday.
The MLS Players’ Union is allowed to appeal Disciplinary Committee decisions.
The incident at the heart of the issues occurred in the first half of Saturday's game, when Dempsey swung his arm and caught bloom in the groin. In a postgame interview, Dempsey said he was only trying to swat Bloom’s hand away. At the time, Bloom said he was willing to believe Dempsey’s explanation.
If the Sounders do lose Dempsey, it would come at inopportune time as he continues to jell with his teammates after missing all of preseason while on loan at Fulham of the English Premier League.
“Obviously if you’re missing a player like Clint, that is an important piece of the puzzle for your team,” Schmid said. “At this stage, he’s player who when you look at minutes played is the most fouled player in the league. Our team is the most fouled team in the league. Hopefully that gets looked at a little bit or taken into account a little bit, as well. But he’s an important part of our team, for sure.”
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Dempsey is just one of several players whose status remains questionable for this week. Brad Evans, who was forced out of Saturday’s game with a muscle contusion, has been limited to training on the side all week. Chad Marshall has also been held out of full training, which Schmid called a precautionary measure.
“We had said all along that we were trying to get [Marshall] through the first two games, which we did,” Schmid said. “Now we’re trying to see if we can keep improving him and going the same way or maybe we need to give him a week at this stage.”