Because Jones made contact with Geiger multiple times while berating the official during the 2-1 playoff defeat to D.C. United, the MLS disciplinary committee is likely to ban him for several additional matches.
The punishment might also prevent Jones from playing for the U.S. national team in two World Cup qualifiers in March. Here’s why:
If it finds he committed an “intentional act of physical violence at or upon a referee,” the league will issue an Assault Suspension, which requires a ban of at least six matches without pay.
Actions that fall within that category include “striking, kicking, choking, grabbing or bodily running into a referee; spitting on a referee with ostensible intent to do so; kicking or throwing an object at an official that could inflict injury; or damaging the referee’s uniform or personal property (e.g., car, uniform or equipment).”
Or MLS could hand down an Abuse Suspension, which requires at least three matches for, among other things, “verbal and nonverbal communication which contains foul or abusive language and which implies or directly threatens physical harm.”
In both cases, once the penalty begins, the player is prohibited from appearing in any official matches for club and country.
Because the Revolution’s season is over, MLS is in no hurry to review Jones’s case. Last year, the league waited until the postseason ended before announcing a six-game suspension for United’s Fabian Espindola, who had shoved an assistant referee in the playoff finale against the New York Red Bulls at RFK Stadium. Espindola’s ban did not go into effect until the 2015 regular season opener, clearing him to play in the CONCACAF Champions League before the MLS campaign began.
With the Revolution done until March, Jones’s suspension cannot begin until then, which clears him to join the U.S. squad for the first two World Cup qualifiers: Nov. 13 against St. Vincent and the Grenadines in St. Louis and Nov. 17 at Trinidad and Tobago.
The 2016 MLS season is scheduled to begin in early March. A lengthy suspension would overlap with a pair of World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala: March 25 in Guatemala City and March 29 at a U.S. venue to be determined.
Jones and Geiger were involved in a minor incident early this season. In May, in a game between the Revolution and United at Gillette Stadium, Jones yelled and gestured toward Geiger after a foul call. He then lightly bumped the official. Geiger did not eject him and the league didn’t issue any sanctions.