WASHINGTON -- A confrontation with a referee following the United States' upset victory over Spain has earned midfielder Michael Bradley a three-game suspension, although the penalty is unlikely to affect qualifying for next year's World Cup.
Bradley, son of U.S. coach Bob Bradley, was sent off in the 87th minute for a lunging tackle in the 2-0 victory over Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinals in South Africa last month. Michael Bradley then confronted Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda in the tunnel after the game, drawing the suspension announced Tuesday by soccer governing body FIFA.
FIFA said Bradley breached its disciplinary code "by committing acts of misconduct against opponents and match officials."
"Obviously, the emotions after a game like that with a decision like that are high," Bob Bradley said Tuesday after the final practice session for Wednesday's CONCACAF Gold Cup match against Honduras. "This is typically the way FIFA handles those things."
The red card he received for the foul meant Bradley was automatically suspended for the Confederations Cup final. He's serving the next two games of the suspension during the ongoing Gold Cup -- even though he's not on the roster because the team is using mostly younger players to give the veterans a break.
Bradley will be eligible to return for the Aug. 12 World Cup qualifier at Mexico. However, a fourth game could be added to the suspension if Bradley misbehaves again. FIFA will review any red card Bradley receives over a probationary period of six months and decide whether the additional game is warranted.
Larrionda was also the referee during the United States' 1-1 draw with Italy in the group stages of the 2006 World Cup, a match that finished with nine Americans on the field against 10 Italians after Larrionda issued three red cards.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press