BY GARY KINGSTON
The emotional late-game confrontation that led to red cards for Vancouver Whitecaps stalwarts Wesley Charles and Charles Gbeke last Friday will sideline them for both games of the USL club’s two-game Eastern road trip.
The Whitecaps announced Tuesday that in addition to the league-mandated one-match suspensions for the red cards, the two have also been slapped with an additional one-match club suspension. They will miss games Saturday in Montreal and Tuesday in Cleveland.
“I guess we’ll find out what sort of character we do have,” president Bob Lenarduzzi said of a club already missing starting centre back Jeff Parke to turf toe. “It’s been a bit of a bleak period for everyone involved in the club, from ownership right down to the young guys that help in the changing rooms. They’re all dismayed by what happened. Hopefully now there’s some closure to it and we can move forward and learn from it.”
Charles, a centre back, and Gbeke, a striker, came together at midfield in the 85th minute of the Caps’ 3-2 win over Miami at Swangard Stadium. They had apparently yelled at each other after Gbeke and striker partner, Marlon James, botched a 2-on-1 break. Charles was immediately red-carded, while his teammate got a yellow. Gbeke was sent off a few minutes later after picking up a second yellow for booting over water bottles at the bench after being subbed off.
Lenarduzzi said the league can suspend players for additional games for “violent conduct” but a review of the video tape didn’t conclusively show either player actually throwing a punch.
“Not for a minute do I want to diminish the incident and the severity of it, but they were having a tough time when they looked at the video. But it shouldn’t have happened . . . and we felt it was appropriate to dish out another game.”
The two players were also each fined an undisclosed amount, with the money directed to the Whitecaps Foundation.
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