Despite the game having ended four days ago, the fallout from D.C. United's 1-0 loss to Toronto FC keeps coming. Pablo Maurer first reported, and D.C. United has since confirmed to Black & Red United, that United head coach Ben Olsen will be suspended for one game and fined an unspecified amount for entering the field of play in the 80th minute of the game.
Don't remember the fit of anger that made Olsen rush onto the field? That's because there wasn't one. Olsen is being suspended and fined for coming a step or two onto the field to remove a second ball from the field of play. From a few seconds prior:
So to recap - hearing Ben Olsen to be suspended 1 gm for entering the field against #TFC. To get a loose ball? #DCU pic.twitter.com/3uNqCSTLKN— Pablo Maurer (@MLSist) April 20, 2016
MLS has been cracking down on people entering the field of play recently; for example, Colorado Rapids striker Shkëlzen Gashi was suspended for their game for running across the field to celebrate with a teammate who had just scored.
However, Olsen's suspension takes MLS's recent rigidity on the letter of their laws to new heights. Someone had to get that ball off of the field, and Olsen's players weren't going to stop in the middle of an attack to do so, nor would Toronto's defenders; referee Mathieu Bourdeau would have been blasted for stopping play. In this case, the ball went out of bounds soon thereafter and Olsen could have just waited, but there was no way to know that would happen.
MLS's point of view is likely that Olsen should have let the referee make that decision and that Olsen's actions may have created some sort of advantage for United, but he was really just trying to keep the game playing as it was supposed to be played. In their current crackdown to the letter of the rules, both on and off the field, this ruling isn't surprising, but it is silly. This means that Chad Ashton will be in charge as United take on the New England Revolution this Saturday.