Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blanco's Punishment Is.....

I attended the U.S. Open Cup match where Chicago Fire's Cuauhtemoc Blanco essentially assaulted Clyde Simms and was ejected after just 15 minutes. Yesterday, the U.S.S.F., which oversees the U.S. Open Cup tournament handed down a two year ban from the tournament for Blanco or at least six games, whichever comes first. This means that at age 35, Blanco will probably never appear in a U.S. Open Cup match again.

Honestly, I think this is fair. The attack on Simms was bad enough and probably would have warranted just a three game suspension, but Blanco would not leave the sideline area and may have assaulted a DC United employee. The latter I don't know about and didn't see, but it did take at least five minutes for Blanco to leave the field and caused Marc Burch (who was ejected at the same time) to not be able to leave the filed since he had to walk past the Chicago bench area and Blanco (who was certainly dawdling). Burch was correct in not leaving, preventing another incident, but Blanco created the problem.

I think Blanco's post ejection behavior is what got him the big suspension. Like I said, his on-field behavior, while wrong and reprehensible, probably would have gotten three games.

The question is, what will the MLS do? MLS doesn't run the tournament, but his behavior does reflect poorly on the league. I think at minimum a fine and a trip to an anger management counselor would be a good first step. (I normally don't go for the touchy-feely stuff, but it will wound Blanco's macho image a little more and that punitive effect will be better served). If the MLS decide to do nothing (which is their right), they have set a precedent that it doesn't matter how poorly you behave in non-MLS competitions, there are no reprecussions from the league and that is a bad precedent to send. A fine of at least 10 percent of his monthly salary is in order.

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