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Wambach Suspended

Washington Freedom forward Abby Wambach will serve a one-game suspension for her tackle on St. Louis star Daniela last Sunday at Maryland SoccerPlex, WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci ruled tonight. Wambach is expected to miss the May 17 game at Boston.

Daniela, a Brazilian national team veteran who scored twice in the first half of the 3-3 tie, is likely to miss the remainder of the season with damage to two unspecified knee ligaments and a cracked tibia. (Review video of the incident at the 2:00 mark of this highlight package.)

Antonucci also suspended Athletica defender Kia McNeill one game for "persistent egregious conduct toward an opposing player" -- in this case Wambach, throughout Sunday's match.

Read the full press release.

Antonucci's decisions came a day after the WPS disciplinary committee decided not to take any action against Wambach.

The incident occurred in the 80th minute after the Freedom had cut the deficit to 3-2. On the restart, St. Louis passed back to Daniela, whose heavy touch created a bit of separation between her and the ball. Wambach went in hard and low, sending Daniela to the turf, where she was treated for several minutes. She briefly lost consciousness because of the pain. Wambach received a yellow card.

Wambach said after the game -- and reiterated in the following days -- that she deserved the card but did not, in any way, intend to inflict injury.

Athletica goalkeeper Hope Solo criticized Wambach's challenge, telling the Insider, "There was no excuse for it. I know Abby means well, I know she has a good heart and she would never want to see a player go down, but in the emotions of a game, it was right after the kickoff after they scored, and she went in two-footed."

By Steve Goff  |  May 7, 2009; 9:14 PM ET
Categories:  Freedom , Women  
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Comments

I don't like it. I don't agree with the suspension for Wambach. As much as I thought McNeill and other Athletica players were guilty of playing players and not the ball, the suspension sets a precedent I don't like. I especially don't like that the committee didn't see the need for any action, but the Commish did.

Posted by: sitruc | May 7, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

If the Commissioner is going to disregard the disciplinary committee, what's the point of the committee?

...And now back to disregarding the WPS...

Posted by: BelovedCartoonMouse | May 7, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I also don't agree with this at all. Being there at the game i thought i was watching a football game instead of a soccer game. The fouls committed against Abby were over the top. Abby's tackle in my opinion does not deserve one game suspension. Did they asked anyone who actually saw the tackle in person or just went by the replay on fsc.

Posted by: Freedom2009 | May 7, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

You know who deserves to be suspended? Joe F(*@)(*G Johnson!! Sorry, I'm letting this get to me too much. Just needed to vent.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | May 7, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

the commissioner reviewed video and the officials' report, and spoke with representatives from each team.

the committee did not take action because they couldn't reach a unanimous decision (which is required)

Posted by: Steve Goff | May 7, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Any truth to the rumor that Antonucci is getting advice from Colin Campbell?

Posted by: jburksva | May 7, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Placate the Brazilians.

Posted by: tyobrien1 | May 7, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

It's political necessity, I'm afraid.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 7, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I think she deserves more than one suspension. So does the ref be suspended. Good for suspending Kia.WPS disciplinary committee not on the same page.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | May 7, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

As for the ref being suspended, read the last sentence of the press release.

Posted by: MR1Caretaker | May 7, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Gee, will this story be in the chauvinistic sports section of the print edition -- the one that barely covers the Freedom or women's sports? Just wondering.

Posted by: rrykken | May 7, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

By suspending Kia, the Commissioner effectively acknowldges that the situation grew out of ineffective game management by the referee. Any word on whether the WPS will use the ref again?

Posted by: Curious99 | May 7, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Should have read the press release before sending the last e-mail. The last sentence doesn't bode well for the ref. It says:

"In addition to the issuance of the discipline in the Decision above, I have directed that the circumstances of this match be brought to the attention of the US Soccer Federation, which provides referee assignments for WPS matches, and that serious consideration be given to avoiding these circumstances when making future referee assignments."

Posted by: Curious99 | May 7, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Abby's suspension may be good news for Allie Long, who I suspect has lost her starting position, given her recent performances. Long may get another chance now.

Thoughts, OWNTF?

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 7, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

FYI . . for the L. Skynnrd posters hows about Red, White and Blue? Ha ha so weak.

Ooooooh Ooooooh Ooooooh, Mmmm Mmmm Mmmmm

My hair's turning white. My necks always been red. My collars' still blue . . . We've always been here just trying to sing the truth to you, yes you could say we've always been red, white and blue.

HA HAA!!!

Posted by: delantero | May 7, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

rrykken:

So you want the Post, a member of the struggling newspaper industry, to dedicate more space and time to something that is not followed as much as other things?

The Post isn't chauvinistic. It's just trying to give the people what they want. Unfortunately, that means more articles about Redskins mini-camp and the truly awful Nats than soccer (either gender) or female sports of any kind. The demand just isn't there. We're talking about a league that aims to be about as popular as local minor league baseball teams. I don't see the Bowie Baysox above the fold.

***

This seems like a bizarre decision to me, but then I also was confused by most of the things MLS did in the 1990s. Growing pains, folks. Perhaps after this, WPS will find a better way to set up its disciplinary structure. The unanimous part, for example, seems bound to cause problems. What's wrong with majority rules?

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 7, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, right post, wrong spot.

Posted by: delantero | May 7, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

so abby is out the next 2 games (suspended + national team). the rest of the freedom better STEP UP or we're gonna lose these 2 games.

silver lining: mcleod is finally in town and did train today

silver lining #2: bompastor continues to be awesome

Posted by: KG118 | May 7, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm the only one, but I don't think the foul was that egregious. It looked to me like Abby was pulling up and didn't even contact Daniela's tibia with her foot, it was Abby's shin that did the damage. I didn't watch the game and I don't know the entire situation, but just watching that highlight clip, I think Abby deserved the card, but not a suspension (and certainly not USSF sanctions).

Posted by: DrBeaker | May 7, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't see any penalty against #8 on St. Louis. She and #6 worked as a tandem both on Abby and Sonia. Sorry about the injury tho. Hope Daniela is much better now. She really has a good touch and shot.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | May 7, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

I can't tell if the suspension of both Wambach and McNeill is an attempt to appear even-handed, or (also reading the last line of the press release regarding the match official), if it is intended to send a message to everyone. If it's the latter, I can accept it.

In that case: MLS-please take note.

Posted by: carnack | May 8, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Right call, all the way around. I really like the middle finger to USSF, too, since they had a hand in supplying that ref.

So much outstanding soccer was played in that game, but the level of violence throughout was disgraceful. If you weren't there to witness it, you have NO business commenting on it or second-guessing the commissioner's actions in any way.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 8, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

"If you weren't there to witness it, you have NO business commenting on it or second-guessing the commissioner's actions in any way."

Why not? The committee wasn't there and not all of them agree. It was a televised match and they used video to come to conclusions. Your statement may be fair if McNeill's suspension was the one being debated by the poster you addressed, but DrBeaker was referring to the Wambach foul. I'm afraid you may be implying it was Wambach who was the major aggressor and violent player throughout the match.

Posted by: sitruc | May 8, 2009 2:27 AM | Report abuse

I am hoping that the Commissioner's rulings are heard by the Coach of the Athletica. McNeil plainly launched herself at an opposing player without any attempt at the ball, I recall three clear times this occurred without a whistle. If Athletica's players do this again I hope there is even more discipline to players and their coach. In the meantime, perhaps these threads can persuade the players themselves and league to take note.

I want my daughter to play hard and go after balls hard - not go after players. I want her to learn the game and to gain the skills and vision that allows her to be in the right place at the right time. I am really hoping that the WPS is plain and consistent with their brand aspirations here - the WPS is where the best players in the world will play this game well. Please remind Athletica, watch McNeil's play, take discipline actions again - play hard, go after balls hard,demonstrate your vision and skills - but play the ball.

Posted by: soccerdad1again | May 8, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

I just think this is stupid beyond belief. Players get injured all the time, Daniela's injury was unfortunate and the result of a cautionable offense. However, since a "star" player who also is foreign was injured, Wambach must be suspended to placate other foreign football federations to ensure that WPS will continue to have access to good players from overseas. The McNeil suspension was simply a make-up call to give the Commisioner's political decision a "Solomonic" veneer. (Mind you, McNeil should have been cautioned, or even ejected, for earlier challenges in the game.

Look, the ref shouldn't be allowed to referee a pee-wee game in the future, he is clearly incompetent. The WPS should direct its fire to the chuckleheads at the USSF who assigned that clown. I'm afraid this action by the Comissioner will encourage other coaches and teams to petition for suspensions of players not otherwise ejected or cautioned during the run of play in games.

Posted by: griffin1108 | May 8, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Both rulings are contrary to the Laws of the Game. Persistent infringement is supposed to result in a yellow card -- not a 1 match suspension. (Unless you keep persisting, in which case you get a red.) A reckless foul, which is all the commissioner is claiming here, is also supposed to result in a yellow card -- as it did. So is the rule now that every foul resulting in an injury means a suspension?

The referee is supposed to control the game. When a referee fails to do that, you straighten him out, or fire him, and use his failure as an example for other referees. You don't make up up new rules after the fact.

Posted by: granadoskerry | May 8, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

suspension on kia is totally make up. We don't want refs to stop the game so often but also like them to be able to see dangerous play. i know it's hard job but we like to demand.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | May 8, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Gee, will this story be in the chauvinistic sports section of the print edition -- the one that barely covers the Freedom or women's sports? Just wondering.

Posted by: rrykken | May 7, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Chest & I are gonna agree on something (just joking Chest):

I'm going to think that this must be one of the many times that I was missing the some clearly indicated sarcasm. It must be.

But just in case, someone reading this actually does hold this point of view-

The Post will cover more women sports when more people care. Maryland Womens' basketball gets more attention than (fill in the blank local women's sports team) becuase they win and more people care.

The Mystics get attention because of who their owners are. The Freedom fall in about third.

All of those teams got more than Washington Pro Lacrosse or Washington Pro Softball or Pro Indoor football(yeah, folks, we actually have a team); you don't think those teams would just love more coverage.

High school girls sports get more attention because people want to see how their daughters/neighbors' kids/ nieces are doing than people care about how the American U softball team is doing.

No disrespect, but dropping the "C" word seems more than a bit off-base.

Supply & demand. Or better stated, "demand & supply".

Posted by: yankiboy | May 8, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I don't like the decision. I really don't. But the Commish is the Commish. If you are going to have the title then have the erh umh confidence to make a decision.

I understand that they are trying to protect their investments.

Now players are served notice. Think twice before going in for the tackle.

And the USSF is served notice. Select a better ref. Just because you worked a U16 WAGS game last week doesn't mean you're automatically ready to step a few levels.

I wonder what the Commish will do if they have a brawl like what took place in the WNBA ala LA Sparks and Detroit Shock last year...

Posted by: yankiboy | May 8, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I watched the replay - that was a tackle worthy of a suspension!?! Now its unfortunate that a player got injured but does anyone think that tackle would have led to a suspension if Daniella was able to come back into the game? A suspension should be based on the players action - not the results of the action. In an athletic contest, like life, sh*t happens. Don't penalize a player for the sh*t.

Posted by: RGHII | May 8, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

joedoc, I don't know. Long is a puzzling player to me, I see lots of really good stuff -- one-touch passing, field vision, take-on skills -- but inconsistent decision-making and at times lacking fitness or intensity or something. But I don't know that Gabarra has a lot of attacking options (with or without Wambach) and he's only himself to blame because of the way he/they handled the draft.

It would be nice to keep the ball away from Kelly Smith and Kristine Lilly. Otherwise it could be a long night in Boston no matter who's in goal.

I enjoyed that Ukrainian game last night, I hope Goff or someone can post video of that winning goal.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 8, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I don't like Antonucci's stance to set aside the process. This is not because I think Abby was guiltless. As I've written before, Abby was lucky not to see red and if the committee issued a retroactive red card, it would not be unfair IMO. But they made a decision, a decision that has no negative impact on any player, and the commissioner should respect that decision. The commissioner should have the power to compassionately overturn a penalty, not to impose her own.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 7, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse
================

I agree completely.

But the decision to suspend her for the "next game she's available to play" is odd. In most of the soccer/football world, it's just the next game. If a player happens to miss that game due to injury or Nat'l team duty, then the suspension is still served. Suspending Abby for one game, not to include absences for WNT duty is odd. Why didn't Antonucci just suspend her for two games. Am I wrong about the standard practice for suspensions?

More evidence that the Post "hates" women's soccer:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/06/AR2009050603655.html

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 8, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I think I'm in the minority here, but I think both suspensions are fair. One-game suspensions and we move on. I would be surprised if we saw that ref again anytime soon.

Posted by: EmWVU14 | May 8, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe this is even aa issue but the Post's coverage of both soccer and womens sports is very fair. In fact, it is probably more than is demanded by the public. We should consider ourselves lucky.

I watched the game and have no problem with the suspensions that came from it.

March for United tomorrow!

Posted by: Gambrills4 | May 8, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

suspension on kia is totally make up. We don't want refs to stop the game so often but also like them to be able to see dangerous play. i know it's hard job but we like to demand.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | May 8, 2009 8:16 AM |

========

Personally, I see the Wambach suspension as the make-up - I was at the game AND watched it again on TV, and I think McNeill would have been ejected if the referee had been competent.

Posted by: kevinwparker | May 8, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I think one thing that should have been taken into consideration is that Abby is bigger than most of the players in WPS. So, when she goes in for a tackle, impact will be much harder than if an attempt was made by a Cat Whitehill or an Homare Sawa. It's like Shaq fouling you on a shot versus a Gilbert Arenas. Impact is going to be much worse because of the size of the offender. She deserved a yellow, but a suspension is too much here.

Posted by: stwasm | May 8, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The Commissioner's decision is smart for business. Regardless of what the disciplinary committee decided, Antonucci doesn't want to see future serious injuries. This sends a strong message to players, coaches, and officials to control the physicality of play or face similar consequences. Well done.

Posted by: Brokenbil | May 8, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

There goes Hope Solo again expressing an opinion. Doesn't she know this means that Foudy and Chastain will think she's ruining the national team by having an opinion about a fellow national team player?

Will she ever learn?

Will she ever go back to being a blonde? (Please...)

Posted by: hacksaw | May 8, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I love Abby, but she deserved the card and the suspension. She could very easily have been shown red. It was low, but it was a studs up, two footed tackle, and it caused an injury. i don't think she meant to injure, but she was definitely hyped from getting whacked all game and having nothing called.

McNeil should have been shown red for the 2nd of her fouls (double yellow). The 3 fouls were blatant "play the man" tactics, and were horrid. And, if St. Louis plays that style again, perhaps Coach Jorge Barcellos should get a little fine. Brazil and the US, continuing our love for each other.

The ref deserves to never ref any match ever again. I could not believe what I was seeing. People who know nothing about footie knew he was getting it all wrong.

Hope Solo should shut the fark up, but she'll take her swipes at Wambach when she can, which is understandable as they are not friends. I will say, Solo's face after the 3rd goal was priceless. I think she despised losing to Abby's team.

Posted by: Greent | May 8, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I love Abby, but she deserved the card and the suspension. She could very easily have been shown red. It was low, but it was a studs up, two footed tackle

=======

Watch the footage again, you are completely incorrect, her shin was what made the contact. And all slide tackles are technically "two-footed" since to slide both feet must be moving. That doesn't make it illegal or a foul.

It was a fair tackle, and Daniella's touch took the ball our of play, resulting in a foul, which I believe warranted a yellow card at most.

Don't forget the pitch was wet, so it would have been impossible for Abby to slow her self down after the ball moved out of play.


The ref deserves to never ref any match ever again. I could not believe what I was seeing. People who know nothing about footie knew he was getting it all wrong.

Posted by: Greent | May 8, 2009 3:59 PM
=======
everyone always forgets, that refs are people, and people are known to make mistakes. The ref should be officially reviewed for that game but to ask for his head is inappropriate and unnecessary


Personally, the commissioner's actions have made me lose all respect for this league's structure. The is no place for "Beckham" rules in soccer. His decision is arbitrary and undermines the entire league's credibility. What's to stop him from rescinding a penalty kick or asking for a replay of a game with a controversial call?


Posted by: BBFunnyMan | May 8, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I think the commissioner punished the injury, not the tackle, which is a bad precedent to set. Personally, I think it deserved a yellow, but not a red. If Daniela hadn't been injured (I've seen worse tackles cause no injury) there would be no suspension for Wambach.

That said, I'm glad the WPS is addressing any issues with officiating early.

Posted by: revsfanindc | May 8, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

West Ham United(H) VS Liverpool

Willhill 6.00 3.40 1.50
6.00 4.00 1.53

In those recent matches, Liverpool were playing pretty well, for they need to get 1st position in the league. What's more, with Gerrard's recovery, Liverpool can get 3 points in this matches without much effort.

West Ham need to save their 7th position, but they scored only one goal in the recent matches verses those four top teams.

For more, please visit:

http://www.nowgoal.com/21.shtml

Posted by: nowgoal | May 8, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

was it a foul? Yes. Was it a yellow card? Yes, I supppose. Abby was late to get there, and daniela's touch was away from her. It looked like that Abby tried to pull up. Honestly, it did not look like that bad of a tackle to me. it was just one of those things that happen in soccer from time to time. The suspension is a joke. If your diciplinary board cannot come to a conclusion than the commish should stay out of it. Let them do the job you gave them, and furthur more dont put yourself or the board in that position. Young league going through growing pains. Oh and now you have taken your best player, and the only reason to watch freedom games off of the field for a game. Good marketing plan!

Posted by: jjfooty | May 8, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Personally, the commissioner's actions have made me lose all respect for this league's structure. The is no place for "Beckham" rules in soccer. His decision is arbitrary and undermines the entire league's credibility. What's to stop him from rescinding a penalty kick or asking for a replay of a game with a controversial call?

Posted by: BBFunnyMan | May 8, 2009 4:50 PM
_________________________________________

Did I miss a story involving gender reassignment surgery?

Posted by: universityandpark | May 9, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Greent:

I agree with everything you said EXCEPT that Abby went in maliciously. I saw the game live, and saw the replays from every angle taped, and I just don't see it.

To be clear, this is a player I love against my least favorite team in the league, so I can try to be unbiased, but just in case.

Barcellos MAY be a decent coach, but I have several issues with him and some of the Brazilians in this league, not the least of which is the perception that they are indisposable to the WPS. They're overrated.

Abby deserved a yellow (it was still a hard tackle whether or not it was malicious), McNeil deserved a suspension, but my point is, it was a political call, and the league admin shouldn't be feeding the Brazilian ego.

Posted by: soccerpotter | May 12, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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