The infamous MLS Disciplinary Committee (DisCo) has once again smashed its iron fist in the face of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
This week it was winger Kekuta Manneh’s turn. MLS announced this morning that he has been fined and suspended for one game for a “serious foul play that endangered the safety of an opponent.”
No, you are not mistaken. That is, in fact, the play that got Kekuta suspended. It is a play like many other in every game, in every league. Manneh didn’t lift his studs nor did he go into the collision with Bravo with excessive force.
It is worth noting that the referee on the field didn’t even feel that a yellow card was warranted. It is certainly not worse than the studs up-challenge that Dom Dwyer gave Whitecaps defender Tim Parker a week ago which left Parker bleeding through his sock.
That play went unpunished by the DisCo.
— Vancouver Southsiders (@Southsiders) May 4, 2016
Manneh will serve his suspension this Saturday as the Whitecaps are set to clash with Cascadia rivals, the Portland Timbers, at BC Place. This is a crucial match for the Blue and White as it will have important repercussions on their position in the Western Conference standings and in their quest to once again lift the Cascadia Cup at the end of the year.
Manneh’s suspension has now been added to a long list of Whitecaps players suspended in the early goings of the 2016 MLS campaign. Christian Bolaños, Kianz Froese, Matías Laba, Masato Kudo, and Kendall Waston have already missed playing time for being on the DisCo’s naughty list.
Refereeing has been a hot topic in 2016. MLS is attempting to make the “game safer” and to “protect creative players” that provide a good spectacle on the field. In theory, this sounds all well and good, but the execution of said plan has been atrocious.
The criteria as to what constitutes a foul and what does not, and what kind plays merit a suspension and which ones do not, have been muddled with inconsistencies and has left nothing but confusion among players, coaches, fans, and undoubtedly, the referees themselves.
More importantly, the fundamental question that needs to be asked is whether or not the game needs to become safer in the first place. The laws of the game as they stand now should protect both the players and the spectacle. The interpretation of the rules that MLS is applying in 2016 is misguided.
Should the game be made safer? Absolutely, but there are better and more relevant starting points. How about a proper concussion protocol? MLS and (football in general for that matter) need to take a hard, long look to the procedures in place to prevent and handle head injuries.
Regardless, Manneh will sit for a game and this suspension will push Carl Robinson to once again juggle his starting lineup on Saturday.