Dempsey hit with 2-game suspension

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comMarch 22, 2014 

sounders v toronto

Sounders midfielder Clint Dempsey controls the ball in an MLS soccer match at Century Link Field in Seattle, March 15, 2014. The Seattle Sounders lost to Toronto FC, 2-1.

PETER HALEY — Staff photographer Buy Photo

The MLS Disciplinary Committee on Friday suspended Seattle Sounders star Clint Dempsey for two games, and about two hours later the first of those games was postponed because of snow accumulations in Montreal.

The Montreal Impact announced that the match with Seattle will be moved back 24 hours — to 1 p.m. Sunday — because of unsafe accumulations of snow on the roof of Olympic Stadium. Local television coverage will shift to JOEtv.

“The weather is beyond our control,” coach Sigi Schmid said in a press release. “We will stay ready and prepare to play Sunday and hope the weather cooperates.”

Olympic Stadium procedures demand postponement when there are 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) or more of snow or frozen rain on the roof 24 hours before a scheduled event. As of Friday, the

Montreal forecasts called for heavy snows to taper off Saturday and go down to only flakes Sunday.

The game had been scheduled at Olympic Stadium rather than the Impact’s open-air Saputo Stadium due to the likelihood of harsh Quebec weather lingering into early spring.

“The month of March here in Montreal we can have a couple of snow storms, and it’s very difficult — quite impossible, quite frankly — to play outdoors in Stade Saputo,” Impact senior vice president Richard Legendre said at midweek. “So we knew from the very beginning that we would have to play two or three games under the roof at the Olympic Stadium.”

The stadium was built for the 1976 Summer Olympics and served as the home of the Montreal Expos baseball team. This is the first postponement of a winter event there since 1999.

If the game goes on Sunday, it will be played without the services of Dempsey, who received his suspension and an undisclosed fine for violent conduct toward Toronto FC defender Mark Bloom during the March 15 match at CenturyLink Field.

Dempsey admitted striking Bloom below the belt but explained that his intent was to swat Bloom’s hand off his back.

Dempsey appealed through the MLS Players Union, but the decision was upheld.

Under the current schedule, Dempsey would miss the Montreal match, as well as the March 29 home game against the Columbus Crew. He would return to eligibility for the April 5 match at Portland.

“Obviously, we’re going to miss him,” Schmid said. “He’s an important part of our team, and I think our fans can see how much he helped us in terms of possession last week.”

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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