Chicago defender Gonzalo Segares said Wednesday that he’s not surprised by the two-game suspension handed down by the league, and that he’s hopeful his actions won’t be costly in the Fire’s push for the postseason.
Segares – who rejoined the Fire in early August after spending the first portion of the season with Apollon Limassol in Cyprus – was fined and suspended after he elbowed the Galaxy’s Leonardo off the ball during a set play early in the teams’ 1-1 draw at Toyota Park.
Segares was shown a straight red card in the 21st minute of the match for the foul, drawing a $250 fine and a one-game suspension. Major League Soccer's Disciplinary Committee on Tuesday suspended Segares for an additional game and tacked on an additional fine of $250.
Segares will miss Chicago’s match Wedesday night at home against Toronto FC and a match on Saturday against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. The Fire are seven points out of the eighth and final playoff spot with just five games remaining on their schedule, and could miss the postseason for just the second time in franchise history.
“The thing that bothers me the most is letting the team down, especially for these two games at this time of year,” Segares told MLSsoccer.com. “I can deal with the fine, or whatever. Usually the one who retaliates is the one who gets caught, and I should know better.”
Segares said his foul was a reaction to a stiff-arm given by Leonardo during the build-up to a free kick from Landon Donovan. Leonardo was not whistled on the play, and Segares had to be restrained by Fire veterans C.J. Brown and John Thorrington after head referee Mark Geiger issued the red card.
“It was just in that moment,” Segares said. “[Leonardo] kept trying to push me away from him, but I wasn’t riding him or doing anything. I was just standing in front of him. And he had his arm over me, so I pushed his hand down so he wouldn’t touch me.
"He basically waited for the ball to come, and he pushed his arm out again and he got me in the side of the face. I just reacted, but I should have been smarter.”
The red card was the second of Segares’ six-year MLS career. He was also ejected for a reckless tackle during a match in Aug. 2007 against Kansas City.
“I’m not really surprised,” he said. “It’s usually a one or two-game suspension, especially for a direct red, there’s always something that has to be hard enough to get kicked out of the game. That’s the way it is. I just have to move on and learn from my mistakes.”
Segares has appeared in four matches for the Fire this season, logging a full 90 minutes in the first three before he was ejected against the Galaxy.