D.C. United defender Brandon McDonald was handed a one-game suspension and a fine on Tuesday for a hard tackle in Friday’s win over FC Dallas, while midfielder Danny Cruz also was fined for simulating that he took an elbow to the face.

For better or worse, this is the direction MLS has opted to take in order to decrease tackles that have sidelined some of the league’s top players in past seasons. The aim is also to take out some of the diving and simulation that many feel has become too prevalent on the field.

On Wednesday after a light D.C. United practice in which starters were absent, McDonald spoke about the league’s ruling.

“Obviously I wasn’t too thrilled about it,” McDonald said. “We got a big game coming up against Seattle and I was hoping to be part of that. But just finding out that I wasn’t going to be part of it, to be honest I didn’t think anything of it and I come to practice [and Coach Ben Olsen was] like, ‘Yeah, you might be suspended,’ and I’m like, ‘What?’ It was kind of a difficult one to swallow.”

Players and coaches are not always going to agree with the decisions, but the attitude seems to be that if the league maintains a standard the results will be worth the sacrifices.

“As long as they’re consistent with their message I have no problem with it,” Olsen said. “That’s the tough part. This is the first year they’re implementing it so I’m sure there’ll be ones everybody disagrees with it and it’s not going to be a perfect system. But, do I agree in principle that we need to stop some of the stuff that’s hurting some of our better players, some of the tackles that are keeping guys out and embellishing and all that stuff? Yeah. So we’ll see how it goes.”

Plenty more officiating fun from Friday’s game (offside, or no?!), a D.C. United birthday and additional quotes from McDonald after the jump.

* There was quite the Twitter debate about whether Blas Perez was offside on his goal in United’s win on Friday. Goff and I were quite adamant in pointing out FIFA rules that indicated he was, indeed, clearly offside. I even pulled up a graphic.

Now, we have answers.

Jim Allen, national instructor staff and retired national assessor for the U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Program answered a question about the call on askasoccerreferee.com. All answers on the site are “coordinated with and approved by the U. S. Soccer Federation’s National Program for Referee Development.”


During the March 30, 2012, DC United vs. FC Dallas MLS match, there was a play late in the first half where Dallas player Perez (#9) scored after receiving the ball following a deflection/misplay by DC United defender Dudar (#19). At the time the ball was last played by Perez’s teammate Hernandez. who chested the ball forward, Perez was in a clear offside position. All of our training as well as the Advice to Referees states that in order for the offside situation to “reset” the defender must control and play the ball. A deflection, miskick, or misplay is not supposed to reset the offside situation. In this case the AR did not raise his flag for offside and the goal was allowed to stand.

USSF answer (April 4, 2012):

An official review of the situation at the highest levels confirms that the call should have been offside.

* In birthday news, Friday is United team mascot Talon’s 17th birthday. Not yet able to vote, but if you see the large jersey-clad eagle around Lot 8 on Saturday, maybe he’s due for some cake.

* U.S. men’s national team coach Juergen Klinsmann will host a conference call today with reporters, the first of “regular opportunities to engage the National Team coach on any relevant topics.” I’ve got a couple questions I’d like to ask, how about you?

* More from McDonald about the tackle and the fallout . . .

On what he saw in the tackle: To be honest with you, I’m not the type of player who tries to go and hurt somebody. I’m a hard player but at the same time I’m smart about it. My intention is never to go in and hurt somebody and end their career, do things like that. If you watch it again you can see he kind of steps into it and that’s what makes it look as bad as it does but at the same time it is what it is, it’s their rules and I have to abide by them and take my suspension to the face.

Does he understand what the league is trying to do?: To be honest with you, I think they do it in Europe. Implementing those rules and it’s their rules and we have to abide by them.

Will he change his approach to playing?: No, not at all. I mean, I’m here this is why they got me here to be that type of player on the field and I think we need it and it’d be foolish for me to change the way I play. But at the same time I have to be smart about what I’m doing, obviously I’m not trying to hurt anybody and take away from the league. I wont change at all, just the way I go about my approach.