D.C. United Goalkeeper Josh Wicks Suspended Five Games by U.S. Soccer Federation

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The U.S. Soccer Federation suspended D.C. United goalkeeper Josh Wicks an additional four games (five total) Monday for misconduct during the U.S. Open Cup championship game last month at RFK Stadium.

After conceding a goal midway through the second half of a 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders, Wicks stepped on the fallen goal scorer, forward Fredy Montero. He was given a red card, resulting in an automatic ejection and one-game suspension, and then had a lengthy and animated argument with referee Alex Prus.

On his way off the field, Wicks berated fourth official Andrew Chapin, who apparently witnessed the incident from the sideline and reported it to Prus.

The six-member USSF Adjudication and Discipline Panel ruled that Wicks "intentionally stomped on a player in the field of play, refused to leave the field of play in a timely fashion, and used highly inflammatory language to insult the fourth official."

The suspension does not affect Wicks's eligibility in the regular season or the Open Cup preliminary round, which is administered by MLS. The Open Cup, founded in 1914 and modeled after the prestigious English FA Cup, is a single-elimination tournament involving clubs from all levels of American soccer.

MLS teams traditionally play a maximum of four games in the Open Cup, so if the format remains the same and United returns to the final, Wicks would sit out the entire 2010 tournament and the first game the following year.

He won the starting job in May and made 17 consecutive regular season starts until suffering shoulder and knee injuries Sept. 27. Unless United advances deep in the playoffs, he will not play again this year.

A United spokesman said the club did not want to comment on the suspension. Wicks has until the end of business Tuesday to appeal.

Dempsey to Miss Qualifier

U.S. national team midfielder Clint Dempsey will miss the World Cup qualifier Saturday at Honduras after spraining his shoulder while playing for his English club, Fulham. He is also questionable for the U.S. team's qualifying finale Oct. 14 against Costa Rica at RFK Stadium.

The Americans (5-2-1, 16 points) are first in the six-nation group that offers three automatic berths to next year's World Cup in South Africa. They would secure passage with a victory over Honduras (4-3-1, 13) or Costa Rica (4-4-0, 12), but depending on other group results, could advance with a tie. Mexico (5-3-0, 15) is also in contention.

Dempsey is tied for the most starts in this qualifying cycle (13) and is second in goals with five behind Jozy Altidore (six). In his absence, Stuart Holden, Jose Francisco Torres or Benny Feilhaber is expected to join a midfield that is likely to include Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley and Ricardo Clark.

Dempsey's roster spot will not be filled before Saturday's match. The remaining 21 players are training in Miami.

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