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Originally published Friday, October 19, 2012 at 7:38 PM

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Sigi Schmid suspended and fined for comments about referee

Schmid was fined $2,000 and suspended for Sunday's game after criticizing referee Ricardo Salazar during and after Wednesday's game.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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FC Dallas @ Sounders FC,

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Sounders FC will almost be back to full strength Sunday against FC Dallas — well, except for its head coach.

Sigi Schmid was suspended one game and fined $2,000 Friday by MLS commissioner Don Garber for "inappropriate public comments" about referee Ricardo Salazar during and after Wednesday's 0-0 tie against Real Salt Lake.

Garber called Schmid's comments unacceptable in a statement released by the league.

"MLS requires that its players, coaches and club leadership maintain proper respect for the officials at all times," the commissioner said.

A Sounders spokesman said neither the team nor Schmid would comment Friday on the suspension. Assistant coach Brian Schmetzer will assume head-coaching duties for Sunday's game.

Salazar has a history with the Sounders, as the last three red cards issued to Seattle players this season have come by his hand. One of those was in the U.S. Open Cup final, and the Sounders took particular issue with Salazar's performance in that game after losing in a penalty-kick shootout. Those feelings surfaced again after Salazar ejected defender Zach Scott in the 30th minute of Wednesday's game and denied the Sounders' appeals for a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time.

Schmid was incensed during a halftime interview that was televised nationally.

"We have our 12th man, which are our fans; they have their 12th man, which is Ricardo Salazar," the coach said. "Every time we have him, it's a difficult game for us. It's tough for us to play. It always seems to be that we're very unlucky, things go wrong, (there are) handballs in the box that he doesn't call. It's just a nightmare for us to play when he referees."

An audible chant of "Salazar sucks!" could be heard from the CenturyLink Field crowd in the closing minutes of the game.

After the game, Schmid backed off his complaints about Scott's ejection and the non-call on the potential PK, but he was still upset.

"The thing is, our fans know his name," Schmid said. "I don't think many fans know the name of the referee. I think that's an indication.... I just thought we were hard done by the officiating all night in certain regards."

Later in his postgame news conference, he said: "Lord help us if we get Salazar in the playoffs."

The Sounders will get some personnel help before Sunday's game as Eddie Johnson, Adam Johansson and Mario Martinez have all rejoined the team after appearances with their international teams and practiced Friday.

Jhon Kennedy Hurtado also looks good to go after missing Wednesday's game with a facial fracture. The defender has been fitted with a protective mask, which might be required for six weeks.

"It's a bit strange to be training with something on your face," Hurtado said through an interpreter, "but it feels fine."

NOTES

• Johansson, who was on Sweden's bench as his team erased a four-goal deficit to tie Germany 4-4 on Tuesday, had bragging rights with Schmid upon his return to the Sounders. "I think I have to eat Swedish meatballs for a week," the German coach joked.

• Martinez scored two goals for Honduras in an 8-1 win Tuesday over Canada to clinch a spot in the final round of CONCACAF's World Cup qualifying, but when he missed a scoring chance in practice, Schmid quipped: "We're not playing Canada today!"

• Midfielder Steve Zakuani practiced Friday after missing Wednesday's game with an oblique strain. It is still unknown, however, how long defender Patrick Ianni will be out with a calf injury.

Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or jmayers@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @joshuamayers

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