The NASL announced Thursday afternoon that Strikers midfielder Eduardo Coudet has been suspended by the NASL for 6 games following last night’s league match against the Puerto Rico Islanders.
According to witnesses and visible from the Puerto Rico Islanders highlight video on YouTube, Coudet protested a penalty kick incorrectly given by the referee. (NASL does not make public the referee names in their game reports.) Coudet rus over to the head official and immediately gives him a push on the right shoulder as the referee turns his back and walks away from the box. The video also shows the referee showing Coudet the red card and the Striker midfielder continues to yell at the official and back him up going face to face until one of the assistant referees intervenes. The former Philadelphia Union player continued to linger on the field and eventually it takes three security guards to escort Coudet into the dugout and off the field.
The play that started the outburst took place in the 74th minute with the score tied at one a piece. Jonathan Faña made a run into the box from midfield. The video replay clearly shows Strikers defender Cristian Arrieta knocking the ball clear of Faña with a slide tackle. The Islanders’ front man than steps on Arrieta’s calf and then goes down after the ball was knocked clear and Faña had no chance of getting to the ball. The referee is seen running into the picture and pointing to the penalty spot a good 2 to 3 seconds later – meaning there was a good chance he was out of position to see the play.
The Islanders converted the penalty kick and scored one more late in the game to defeat the Strikers 3-1.
Coudet, the 37-year-old Argentinian veteran, is tied for 4th in the league for scoring with 6 goals in 12 appearances. He also has 4 assists this season. Coudet will now be unavailable for action until September 3rd when Fort Lauderdale hosts Montreal.
“The league has an obligation to protect our match officials, and as a result Mr. Coudet will serve the appropriate suspension for his actions which have no place whatsoever in our game,” said NASL Commissioner David Downs.
According to those watching the live U-Stream feed of the game there was also more trouble late in the match as Strikers coach Daryl Shore jawed with the Puerto Rico Islanders broadcast team who’s table is oddly set up between the two opposing benches and behind the 4th official. Reports have Shore getting into an argument with the announcers which could be heard off the microphone. The broadcast crew seemed to lose focus themselves and stopped reporting on the game for a period of time. They also made several comments about Shore being “unprofessional” with one saying, “I don’t know the coach’s name and frankly I don’t care.”