Bruce Arena called Galaxy midfielder Chris Bichall's ugly, sweeping, stoppage-time foul last weekend on Chicago's Patrick Nyarko “fairly harmless, to be honest with you” and said “there's no question in my mind” that the yellow card assessed by rookie referee David Gantar was adequate.
Frank Klopas disagreed.
“It was a bad foul ...,” the Fire technical director/interim head coach said following L.A.'s 2-1 win Saturday at Home Depot Center. “In my opinion, 100 percent [that was a red-card foul]. But hopefully the league will review it, and then they'll act accordingly.”
And Major League Soccer sides with ... Klopas and the Fire.
Birchall was suspended for two games and fined $1,000 for a “challenge that showed utter disregard for his opponent’s safety,” a late, high attack that forced Nyarko, the game's best player, to depart amid concern he'd been seriously injured while touching off a mini-brawl in front of the benches. Chicago has not listed the Ghanaian winger out of Virginia Tech on the league's injury report.
Birchall afterward said it “was a mistimed tackle, but it wasn't meant to be vicious” and that he thought a yellow was deserved. He'll miss the Galaxy's games next Wednesday against Columbus at Home Depot Center and July 30 at Vancouver.
Chicago forward Diego Chaves was suspended one game and fined $250 for a stoppage-time foul on Landon Donovan that Gantar penalized with a yellow card but the league's disciplinary committee called a “reckless challenge that endangered the safety of his opponent .”