Ricardo Clark suspended for nine games

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/footballgeneric1.jpg' class='caption'> Houston Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark was suspended a Major League Soccer record nine games for violently kicking Carlos Ruiz.

Updated: October 07, 2007 17:11 IST
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New York:

Houston Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark was suspended a Major League Soccer record nine games and fined $10,000 for violently kicking FC Dallas striker Carlos Ruiz.

It was after the two collided while competing for a high ball in Sunday's game.

The sanction will bar Clark for the remainder of the MLS regular season and any playoff matches.

With Houston leading 3-0 in the 89th minute, both leaped to head a free kick from outside the top of the penalty area, collided near the right post and fell.

Ruiz was expelled for hitting Clark with a knee as the two challenged for the ball, but not before the US national team midfielder took a full swing with his right leg and kicked the Guatemalan international while he was still on the ground.

"I have decided that it is necessary to take firm action to reflect the fact that Ricardo Clark's violent kick to Carlos Ruiz in last weekend's game against FC Dallas, while out of character, is unacceptable behavior from an MLS player," said league commissioner Dan Garber.

"In taking this action, Major League Soccer is sending a signal that it will not accept reckless and dangerous behavior on its fields. If there is a repeat of this kind of behavior by any MLS player, even firmer sanctions can be expected in the future."

The suspension surpassed the previous record of six games handed to FC Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala last year, Thomas Ravelli in 1998, and Andy Herron in 2005.

"I hope and believe that Ricardo Clark will reflect on and learn from his mistake and become a better professional as a result."

Clark's suspension includes the automatic one game that a player receives for a red card offense.

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