Dwayne De Rosario missed D.C. United practice on Thursday to attend to a personal matter. But it turns out he didn’t need to be there anyway, and won’t need to next week either.
MLS announced Friday morning that the 2011 MLS MVP is suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season and has been fined an undisclosed amount “for violent conduct that endangered the safety of his opponent, Philadelphia Union midfielder Danny Cruz, during a preseason game between the clubs on Feb. 23” in Orlando, Fla. De Rosario was red carded in the match for an alleged head butt.
The MLS Players Union appealed the MLS Disciplinary Committee’s ruling, but MLS commissioner Don Garber upheld the punishment on Thursday.
That leaves D.C. United without De Rosario, who had seven goals and 12 assists last season, for the first two games of the year, Saturday at Houston and next weekend (Mar. 9) in the team’s home opener at RFK Stadium against Real Salt Lake.
It also raises larger questions about the league’s jurisdiction over behavior in preseason matches. When those games are contested between MLS teams – which is more cost effective and predictable than taking teams on overseas trips – they can get very heated. Rivalries and individual battles often take precedence since the outcomes themselves aren’t meaningful.
“We didn’t even know [De Rosario] could get suspended for something like that,” United midfielder Nick DeLeon said on Thursday.
Preseason games themselves alao are often managed inconsistently. De Rosario was replaced in the Philadelphia game to allow both teams to continue to play 11 versus 11 – playing a man down doesn’t help either side’s preparation for the regular seaosn. But in the match that took place immediately afterward, Toronto’s Darren O’Dea was ejected for an elbow to the head of Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler. The Canadian side had to play down a man for the remainder of the match, and the incident did not result in a suspension for O’Dea this weekend.