D.C. United had 24 hours after the completion of Saturday’s loss at New England to appeal forward Eddie Johnson‘s red card, and although club officials declined to say whether they submitted written notice to MLS, it’s probably safe to assume they have done so.
Johnson was ejected by referee Juan Guzman in the 82nd minute after a play involving Kelyn Rowe. [Video here]
“I completely disagree with the red card issued to Eddie Johnson,” Coach Ben Olsen told the Insider on Tuesday. “But Eddie also has to realize he is not going to get the benefit of the doubt in this league. He never has.”
Johnson was making his first appearance since serving a one-game suspension for an incident against Montreal on May 17. In that case, he was not ejected from the match but sanctioned by MLS’s disciplinary committee three days later, forcing him to miss the Houston game May 21.
On the New England trip, United was trailing 2-1 when Johnson was sent off. He is scheduled to miss this Saturday night’s match against defending champion Sporting Kansas City at RFK Stadium.
“I don’t know much about what goes into Juan Guzman’s head in games, particularly the ones where he is reffing our games,” Olsen said. “We have looked at the video every which way and [General Manager] Dave Kasper is going to lead that [appeal] charge.”
Kasper declined to comment.
If, in fact, United has appealed, an independent review panel consisting of representatives from the U.S. Soccer Federation, Canadian Soccer Association and Professional Referees Organization will review the case. Members must come to a unanimous decision in order to overturn the suspension. [Complete details]
It’s been a rough month for Johnson, who was not invited to U.S. World Cup training camp despite playing an integral role on Juergen Klinsmann‘s squad last year; has recorded one goal in 10 league matches since his high-profile arrival from Seattle in the winter; and is now facing a second suspension.
“The bottom line is, [Johnson] has to be smarter in what he does on the field because he is here to play and I don’t want to see him on the sidelines,” Olsen said. “He has got to be smart enough that he is not going to get the benefit of the doubt, so he has to get beyond that and give them no excuses to put him on the sidelines. That’s it. That is what this boils down to. That is in Eddie’s control. That is in our control here. The other stuff — bad refereeing, the disciplinary committee, their judgement — is not in our hands. We have to control what we can here, and that is Eddie doing the job on the field.
“If this is a break for Eddie with the suspension [and he's allowed to play this weekend], I hope it is a rebirth for him. I am looking forward to him ramping it up a little bit for us.”
Johnson has declined interview requests since Klinsmann’s decision.
In other DCU news …
Midfielder-forward Chris Rolfe did not travel with the club last weekend because of a hamstring ailment. He ran on the side Tuesday and will be gradually incorporated back into training in hopes of returning to active duty against Kansas City, Olsen said.
Midfielder Luis Silva and forward Conor Doyle recovered from sickness and are back at work.
After a week of regaining fitness in his return from a foot injury, right back Sean Franklin is “looking like himself again,” Olsen said.
With a goal for Jamaica against Serbia on Monday at Red Bull Arena, homegrown forward Michael Seaton, 18, continues to impress Olsen and the coaching staff.
“Good goal. The guy knows how to score goals,” said Olsen, who watched video of the goal. “He finds himself in the right spots at the right time. He is going to continue to grow here and hopefully be a contributor here for the big boys.”
Seaton is on loan to the third-division Richmond Kickers, but given his development, should supporters expect regular first-team call-ups this summer?
“We will continue to evaluate him, not only what he is doing with Richmond or Jamaica, but we are also evaluating him every day in training. We know who he is. We know what he brings to the table. We understand he is a very talented kid. He has got a nose for the goal. We also understand he has a lot to work on. But it certainly doesn’t hurt his chances when he does well on the international stage. Will he get some first-team soccer for us this summer? I am sure he will. When is it and in what circumstance? We have a lot of games this year and we’ll have a lot of guys being called on for certain games.”
Seaton will remain with the Reggae Boyz for at least two friendlies in Europe.
CONCACAF will conduct the 2014-15 Champions League draw Wednesday evening in Miami. Twenty-four clubs, including U.S. Open Cup champion United, will be placed into three-team groups. Play begins in August.
Other clubs to qualify:
USA: New York Red Bulls, Portland Timbers, Sporting Kansas City.
Canada: Montreal Impact or Toronto FC.
Mexico: Leon, Club America, Pachuca, Cruz Azul.
Costa Rica: Alajuelense, Saprissa.
Honduras: Real Espana, Olimpia.
Guatemala: Comunicaciones, Municipal.
Panama: Tauro, Chorrillo.
El Salvador: Metapan, FAS.
Belize: Belmopan Bandits.
Puerto Rico: Bayamon.
Guyana: Alpha United.