Neither Fire coach Frank Klopas nor defender Jalil Anibaba expected any disciplinary action from Major League Soccer immediately after Saturday nights 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders at Toyota Park.
Both were wrong, though. Anibaba was handed a red card by referee Michael Kennedy and Klopas was dismissed for defensive and abusive language towards the officials in Kennedys game report filed with the league. Neither knew about Kennedys report after the match, and the club and league announced the penalties on Monday.
The red card means Anibaba cant play in Friday nights match against Chivas USA in Los Angeles, and Klopas wont be on the sidelines. Its expected that Fire assistants Mike Matkovich and Leo Percovich will fill in for Klopas on Friday. Matkovich and Percovich were assistant coaches for Chivas earlier in their careers, when Preki was Chivas head man.
Anibaba and midfielder Marco Pappa were the Fires central figures in a post-game scuffle after Saturdays loss. Anibaba admitted he had a role in the post-game issues.
"I went in to make a play on the ball, and it turned into a scuffle," he said. The red card was assessed for a challenge Anibaba made in stoppage time, according to Kennedys game report.
Pappa, who scored the lone Fire goal, wasnt penalized and will throw out the first pitch at the White Sox game on Tuesday.
Most of the players on both teams were embroiled in the post-game melee.
"There were some emotions at the end, but we just have to control that," Klopas admitted in his post-game press conference. "At times the referee has got to make the right calls and keep things under control. Our guys put a lot into our games, and they wore their emotions and passions on their sleeves. I know there were some arguments...I didnt see anything else happen.
Klopas was critical of the officiating in the match, which was filled with controversial calls. He disputed the interference call on Dominic Oduro, which resulted in a Pappa goal being waved off in the second half, and also felt that Rafael Robayo was fouled from behind in the box during the tense final moments.
Anibaba admitted it was "a hard-fought match and emotions were running high."
"But there was nothing malicious on either end, he said of the post-match scuffle.
With Cory Gibbs sidelined for most of the season following recent knee surgery, Anibabas loss could be painful for the Fire (2-2-2) on Friday. Captain Logan Pause could move to the back line or rookie Austin Berry, who has yet to play in an MLS match, could get the call. Berry was the Fires first-round draft pick out of the University of Louisville.