As was forewarned from announcements made at the conclusion of last season, the MLS Disciplinary Committee has stepped up its game this year, doling out weekly fines and suspensions in an effort to retroactively assist referees and to ostensibly clean up the game. Their latest adjudged to have broken the rules is San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch. The committee has suspended Busch for one game and fined him an undisclosed amount for “aggressively retrieving a ball in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time” from a ball boy during the Earthquakes visit to Kansas City on May 27.
The committee’s decision means that Busch will not be available for the Earthquakes next game, a road contest at the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday. Busch’s understudy, second year Generation Adidas ‘keeper David Bingham, will get the start against the Rapids.
“I’m very disappointed. That’s what they decided. I’ll accept it,” said Busch during a very terse meeting with the media. “I don’t agree with it. But there’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t appeal it, so we move on.”
For suspensions handed out by the league’s Disciplinary Committee lasting only a single match, the players do not have a mechanism by which to appeal, so despite Busch’s insistence that he did nothing wrong, he has no choice but to sit out one game. Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop remained diplomatic about the committee’s action, and was not willing to challenge the decision with as much vigor as he displayed earlier this season when winger Marvin Chavez was suspended for a violent conduct in a match against the New York Red Bulls.
“I didn’t see the incident, so it is all hearsay,” explained Yallop. “All you can do is accept what the league put across to the team and Jon and move on. I can’t really comment on something I didn’t see live. Jon’s accepted it, we’ve accepted it, we just need to forget about it and move on.”
To date, no video evidence of the incident with the Livestrong Sporting Park ball boy has been made public — including in the match footage provided in the league’s archive — but Busch claims any review shows that he is innocent, and he was very surprised by the suspension.
“Yes, honestly,” said Busch. “There wasn’t any contact, and there are three videos to prove it.”
Busch has been a stabilizing influence between the posts for the Earthquakes following his ascension to becoming coach Yallop’s starting goalkeeper midway through the 2010 season. Busch started all but one game in 2011 — an away match at the New England Revolution late in the season gave Bingham his first minutes of MLS action — and has played every minute of every match this season. Bingham has stepped in to provide quality goalkeeping in two matches in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, and now he’ll be called in to stop the Rapids.
“David’s a good young goalkeeper who is going to get a chance to play against Colorado” announced Yallop. “He has been waiting for his chance to play, so I am sure he is excited about it.”
The Earthquakes will depart San Jose on Tuesday to face the Rapids in a Wednesday evening match that kicks off at 6:30 p.m. San Jose time.
(Photo: Joe Nuxoll, centerlinesoccer.com)