In a move that will surely draw the ire of fans stateside, CONCACAF's judicial board has decided to suspend United States men's soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann for Sunday's Gold Cup final against Panama.
The official U.S. Soccer Twitter feed confirmed the decision:
The CONCACAF Disciplinary Committee has suspended U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the final of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) July 27, 2013
Klinsmann's suspension comes just about 48 hours after the USMNT coach was dismissed from Wednesday night's 3-1 victory over Honduras in the Gold Cup semifinals.
As it became clear the United States were going to pull away and advance to the final, the Honduran players became increasingly aggressive going for tackles. Though there were multiple fouls called as a result of Honduras' physical play, Klinsmann and other members of his coaching staff became visibly frustrated.
The situation reached a boiling point when two Honduran players converged on team captain DaMarcus Beasley, sending him to the ground hard.
Incensed, Klinsmann tossed the ball at the ground in frustration and was sent off by referee Walter Quesada in the 87th minute. In their statement on the ruling, CONCACAF officials claim that Klinsmann's tossing of the ball was done in a "violent manner," per Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl:
CONCACAF press release says Klinsmann "threw the ball in a violent manner." Suspension cannot be appealed.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 27, 2013
Jeff Carlisle of ESPN had the organization's full statement:
CONCACAF: Mr. Klinsmann was ejected from the technical area for showing dissent towards the referee by throwing the ball in a violent manner— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) July 27, 2013
As Wahl notes, the ruling cannot be appealed. While there were many who saw Klinsmann's ejection from Wednesday night's match as being punishment enough, his spiking of the ball seemed to resonate with the CONCACAF officials.
Klinsmann himself acknowledged that he crossed the line in a statement after the match, per Andrew Wiebe of MLSSoccer.com:
It was just a reaction out of frustration because fouls had added up throughout the last half an hour…I just kind of overboiled it. Obviously, you shouldn’t then throw the ball or hit it on the ground. I apologize for that reaction, but it was not meant against the referee, against nobody. It was just frustration because you feel the health of your player [is in jeopardy] in that moment. I apologize for that.
Wahl also notes that Martin Vasquez will take over for the United States on Sunday for Klinsmann:
Martín Vásquez will coach US Sunday (unless Klinsmann shows up in a Bobby Valentine tape mustache).— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 27, 2013
Vasquez has served under Klinsmann as an assistant coach since he took over in 2011. His only head coaching experience came with Chivas USA, where he was relieved of his duties after just one season.
The United States come into their match versus Panama on a record 10-game winning streak. They have rampaged through their first five matches as the Gold Cup host country, outscoring their opponents 19-4. Klinsmann's club is looking to capture the country's fifth championship in tournament history. Only Mexico (six) has more than the United States' current total of four.
Panama reached the final by defeating Mexico, 2-1. They are looking for their first Gold Cup championship.
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