Fire coach Frank Klopas, center back Jalil Anibaba suspended
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media April 30, 2012 9:46PM
Fire coach Frank Klopas (left) was suspended for the game Friday against Chivas USA. He is said to have directed abusive language toward the officials in the team’s chippy game against Seattle. | Getty Images
Updated: June 2, 2012 8:15AM
Major League Soccer has suspended Fire coach Frank Klopas and center back Jalil Anibaba for the game Friday against Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., according to a statement released by the team on Monday.
Klopas was dismissed by referee Michael Kennedy after the Fire’s 2-1 loss Saturday against the Seattle Sounders for directing abusive language toward the officials, a league spokesman said. Anibaba was red-carded for a challenge in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time, but he was not immediately sent off the field.
Anibaba and Fire midfielder Marco Pappa were involved in a postgame scuffle with Seattle’s Marc Burch and Osvaldo Alonso. It took five minutes for the teams to leave the field after the benches cleared.
The melee, which broke out after Anibaba’s challenge, prevented the referee from isolating Anibaba and immediately issuing the red card. The league is reviewing the incident, and more suspensions could be forthcoming.
A team source told the Sun-Times that the organization is reviewing the situation and deciding on whether to appeal Klopas’ suspension.
The plan is for Fire assistants Mike Matkovich and Leo Percovich to share Klopas’ responsibilities. Klopas will be allowed to watch the game from a suite in the Home Depot Center, but he’s not allowed in the locker room or near the bench.
Rookie center back Austin Berry is a likely candidate to replace Anibaba in the starting lineup.