By THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER, B.C. — Two Vancouver Whitecaps FC players were fined Monday for nearly coming to blows in a United Soccer Leagues game Friday night - and more punishment is on the way.
The team fined defender Wesley Charles and forward Charles Gbeke an undisclosed amount for "unsportsmanlike behaviour" stemming from an incident in Friday's 3-2 win over Miami FC Blues. The players also face suspensions from the league, which will be announced Tuesday.
"As a club, we do not condone any violent conduct on or off the field," Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said in a statement. "The events that took place near the end of Friday's match are inexcusable and there are consequences the players must now face for their actions.
"Wesley and Charles are veteran players and have both taken full responsibility for their actions, are remorseful, and accept their discipline."
With the Whitecaps up 3-2 in the 85th minute, Charles and Gbeke were involved in a confrontation at mid-field following a botched 2-on-1 between Gbeke and Marlon James. Referee John Oliva saw the incident and immediately slapped Charles with a red card, while Gbeke was given a yellow card.
After Gbeke was subbed out for Gordon Chin in the 90th minute, the Ivory Coast native kicked several water bottles along the Whitecaps' substitutes bench. Oliva quickly handed Gbeke a second yellow card, followed by a red card.
Gbeke apologized for his tirade afterward.
"I want to apologize to my teammates and coaches, as well as the whole Whitecaps organization," said Gbeke. "I especially want to apologize to the fans because we let them down.
"The fans have always been gracious and supportive of us, so I'm hoping for their forgiveness and that they give me a second chance. I hope we can grow out of this situation and become closer as a team."
Head coach Teitur Thordarson said the team won't dwell on the incident.
"We have had a chance to speak with all involved parties and we are confident we can put the incident behind us," said Thordarson. "We are moving forward as a united team."
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