E. RUTHERFORD, N.J. - New York Red Bulls midfielder Amado Guevara has been fined $4,000 and suspended for Saturday's home game against Chivas USA by the club for his actions in his team's 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire last Saturday, May 13.
Guevara was replaced by Marvell Wynne in the 55th minute and instead of sitting on the bench with his teammates, the Honduran international walked along the sideline, shook his head and stretched out his arms before heading to the Red Bulls locker room. He emerged about 10 minutes later in street clothes, sitting next to his wife in the first row of stands, signing autographs for fans.
"I'm very disappointed in Amado," Red Bulls coach Mo Johnston said in a statement issued Tuesday. "The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back."
Guevara re-emerged in the Red Bulls locker room after the game and told the media that he was "scared" after being taken off.
"I wasn't upset, I was surprised, I was afraid," Guevara said through a translator Saturday. "We were winning, we weren't playing the best game but we were winning. I was scared. I'm not expecting to be taken off the field, that's what I was scared about. That was my surprise reaction."
He added: "They have to understand when they take me out of the game, respect my decision just to take a shower and watch from the stands. I can't support them watching from different side."
But it's a reaction that has proven to be very costly.
"Everyone in this organization - whether a member of the front office or a player on the field - is accountable to one another," Red Bull New York Managing Director Marc de Grandpre said in a statement issued Tuesday. "Amado's actions were insulting to the organization and more importantly [to] the fans, and as a result we have reprimanded him accordingly."
Guevara's future with the Red Bulls is murky. The subject of trade rumors throughout the preseason and the first month of the season, Guevara expressed a desire to leave New York following a war of words with former MetroStars president and general manager Alexi Lalas.
The subject matter then was Guevara playing in a friendly with Motagua, his former club in his native country. Guevara vowed to never play for the team as long as Lalas was in charge, and then arrived 11 days late to the start of preseason. He was delayed because he was obtaining his green card.
Guevara's discontent, though, didn't start during the offseason. A brilliant playmaker and the 2004 MLS MVP, Guevara has been fined thousands of dollars because of dissent on the field and his comments about the league and its officials off the field.
He has been in Johnston's doghouse from the start of the season, the coach saying he has failed to reach his potential in the team's first six games. Johnston has made several moves to help Guevara, including acquiring Danny O'Rourke to provide defensive cover and moving Youri Djorkaeff back in the midfield for added cover. This past weekend, Johnston went with a 3-5-2 formation and gave Mark Lisi his first start, another move thought to be able to give Guevara more freedom to attack.
"Since the first six games, Amado Guevara's been a totally different player," Johnston said after Saturday's 1-1 draw. "He's better than what we've seen. He's not produced, the fans were disappointed when he walked off, very disappointed. And I was disappointed. When you have team leaders in that locker room, you have to support your team. There's better players who have been taken off than Amado Guevara."
While Guevara has only been left off the active 18-man roster for Saturday's match, league sources say it's unlikely he will ever wear a Red Bull uniform again.
"As I see it, the relationship is broken beyond repair and I don't see any means or desire to repair it from either side," a source said.
Dylan Butler is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.