USA TODAY Sports
Dwayne De Rosario was ejected from D.C. United's preseason match against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday for an apparent head butt after being tackled from behind by a Union player. Could this happen, and what would it mean for the Black-and-Red?
There's really only one story coming out of yesterday's 2-0 preseason win over the Philadelphia Union that I'm paying attention to right now: Dwayne De Rosario's red card for a possible head butt of former D.C. United player Danny Cruz. Yes, it's great that United won and kept a clean sheet. It's even better that Lionard Pajoy had a major hand in both goals and that there were no injuries to report and that Panamanian trialist Marcos Sanchez found his way onto the score sheet with an assist on Pajoy's insurance goal deep into the second half. But DeRo is undoubtedly the story. More precisely, possible disciplinary action from Major League Soccer against De Rosario is the story.
First, what happened. From the Washington Post's man on the scene, the Goff-father:
The incident began when Brian Carroll, another former D.C. player, grabbed De Rosario from behind. De Rosario turned and shoved Carroll, prompting Cruz to intercede. De Rosario could be seen cocking his head back as players swarmed on the scene.
"He elbowed Brian in the head and then he pushed him," Cruz said. "So I came and pushed him away and he came up pretending like he was going to punch me and then head-butted me. It was a cheap shot."
Cruz had a slight bruise across the bridge of his nose but wasn't bloodied and didn't require immediate treatment.
DeRo was obviously red carded for the incident. Red cards during the regular season carry an automatic one-game suspension, which the MLS Disciplinary Committee can expand upon for especially egregious rules violations. That automatic suspension doesn't happen with a preseason ejection, but the Disciplinary Committee has a lot of leeway and could decide to enforce an in-season suspension for conduct in a preseason game. Whether the committee acts will depend on a few things, foremost among them whether any video of the incident exists.
In any event, we'll know sometime in the next week whether DeRo will be suspended for the nationally televised season-opener in Houston next Saturday. Meantime, like it or not, we could be treated to a glimpse at whether Ben Olsen has changed his plans for dealing with his captain's absence since the end of last year. With Carlos Ruiz probably not yet match fit and Raphael Augusto still working his way back from an injury suffered early in preseason, we may see a reprise of the - shall we say result-oriented if not inspiring? - De Rosario-less Black-and-Red we saw at the end of the 2012 season.