MLS Disciplinary Committee slaps Whitecap Harris with suspension

Atiba Harris

Atiba Harris will miss the Vancouver Whitecaps’ match Saturday in San Jose against the red-hot earthquakes.

Though Harris only received a yellow card for his late elbow that pinpointed the head of the Philadelphia Union’s Carlos Valdes last weekend, the MLS Disciplinary Committee had another look and decided that the infraction constituted serious foul play. That means Harris pick up a one-game suspension.

And, of course, it’s a sign to the referees that a red card, not a yellow, should have been handed out.

MLS sent out a release Tuesday of four players who had been fined or suspended by the Disciplinary Committee. Under new powers granted to the Committee, there are new powers — and mandates — to suspend players for infractions that went undetected or under-punished by the officials.

In the release sent out the media, each of the four rulings comes with video clips to support the league’s decision to fine or suspend. Really, it’s a little bit like the videos that NHL head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan records when explaining his reasons to suspend players. But, the MLS version isn’t as verbose, with just an explanation of the suspension and an accompanying highlight from the specified match.

D.C. United’s Danny Cruz was fined for embellishment, while FC Dallas’ Jair Benitez and D.C. United’s Brandon McDonald each received a one-game ban for violent conduct.

In the second half of the 0-0 draw at Philly, Harris, himself coming back from injuries that kept him out most of 2011, delivered an elbow to the back of Valdes’s head, long after the Union defender had played the ball.

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About Steven Sandor

I'm currently the colour commentator for FC Edmonton broadcasts on Sportsnet, and TEAM 1260. I've covered the Toronto FC beat for four years, worked for the Edmonton Aviators of the USL for a season, covered the Edmonton Drillers of the NPSL and started covering Canadian World Cup qualifiers in 1996. I've covered the CONCACAF Champions League and the U-20 World Cup. I'm passionate about soccer in North America.