Clint Dempsey Goes Mental After Controversial VAR Red Card And Playoff Suspension
Just like last season, the Seattle Sounders are rolling into the MLS playoffs. Unfortunately, just like last season, they’ll have to make due without Clint Dempsey — at least for the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal. Dempsey was issued a straight red card in the 24th minute of the Sounders' final regular season match on Sunday after the VAR was consulted to spot an elbow from the USMNT legend on Colorado Rapids defender Mike da Fonte.
Seattle ultimately won the match 3-0 and secured the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, ensuring a bye to the conference semifinals, but Dempsey’s red means he’ll be suspended for the away leg. Dempsey was less than impressed with the decision and reacted as we’ve come to expect.
It’s obviously a huge blow to Seattle. The Sounders have the third best defense in the league, but they’ve struggled for consistency on the attacking end. The 34-year-old Dempsey is Seattle’s leading scorer with 12 goals from 29 matches. He’s also chipped in with four assists, the third highest total on the team.
“Obviously I want the team to play with control of their emotions,” said Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer after the match. “That is a paramount. Because in critical moments, you need to have a clear mind and you need to make sure you’re making good plays. So I will watch the tape, I will sit down with Clint and figure out his version of it and we will proceed. Because I’m not allowing one play to derail what we can accomplish. That won’t happen. That I can guarantee you.”
The Sounders will turn to Will Bruin, Nicolas Lodeiro, Joevin Jones and the returning Jordan Morris in their quest to repeat as MLS Cup champions. The Sounders will play a TBD opponent away on October 29 in the first leg, where Dempsey will be serving his suspension, before the return leg in Seattle on November 2.