19.06.2015 21:46 h

Dempsey banned three games for referee incident

Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey was suspended for three matches by Major League Soccer and fined an undisclosed amount on Friday for his actions towards a referee in the US Open Cup.

Dempsey, the US national team captain, will be eligible to play for the Americans in next month's Gold Cup. But he will miss the next three Sounders matches and cannot participate in any other competition until that suspension has been served.

Seattle play three MLS matches in nine days starting on Saturday at home against San Jose and continuing on Wednesday at Philadelphia and June 28 at arch-rivals Portland, the same club Seattle faced when Dempsey's misdeeds brought the ban.

Last Tuesday, Dempsey tore up the referee's notepad in a 3-1 loss to Portland in the US Open Cup.

While the incident took place outside MLS play, any actions involving referee abuse in any club competition is handled and disciplined by the professional league, giving MLS the jurisdiction to review the matter and impose punishments.

A US Open Cup adjudication and discipline panel will conduct a hearing next week to review the incident. That could result in more fines and suspension only from US Open Cup matches in future years.

Dempsey is the Sounders' leading scorer alongside Nigerian Obafemi Martins on seven goals and has also set up six other goals for Seattle in the MLS.

The Sounders lead the MLS Western Conference with a league-best 29 points from 15 matches.