CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA defender Mario de Luna issued an apology earlier this week for his incident with a ball boy at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, but that didn’t prevent Major League Soccer’s Disciplinary Committee from handing down a one-game suspension "for aggressively retrieving the ball” in the 86th minute of the Goats’ 3-0 loss to the Timbers.
Replays showed de Luna shoving the boy after a failed attempt to snatch away the ball. This week, he explained what his thought process was during the controversial moment.
“It was a circumstance of the match,” de Luna said. “We were facing an unfavorable score and what I wanted was to in-bound the ball quickly. Really, I didn’t even see which side the referee signaled. What I wanted was the ball and, in that moment, [the boy] pulled it back based on what the referee signaled. The only thing I wanted was to grab the ball.”
According to league regulations, the boy followed proper protocol by waiting to give the ball to the appropriate team.
De Luna was issued a yellow card following the incident and will miss Sunday’s home match against Real Salt Lake for yellow-card accumulation. He will then serve his one-game suspension May 25 at Colorado.
“I’m not a violent man that is always looking to fight,” de Luna said. “I’m a calm person. In that situation, what I wanted was to have the ball in movement.”
The 25-year-old, who is on loan from sister club Guadalajara, started all 10 games this season, scoring a goal April 27 against San Jose. Defender Wálter Vílchez, who missed the previous eight matches while recovering from knee and ankle injuries, is expected to fill the void this weekend.