Orlando City will be without Italian midfielder Antonio Nocerino against the Chicago Fire this Sunday after the MLS Disciplinary Committee issued a a suspension and undisclosed fine for "violent conduct that endangered the safety of an opponent on the play," as first reported by Orlando Sentinel reporter Alicia DelGallo.
Nocerino picked up a yellow card in the 33rd minute of Orlando City’s 3-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders this past Sunday when he kicked the ball into Seattle’s Clint Dempsey, who was laying on the ground after being fouled by Orlando’s Servando Carrasco seconds earlier.
After further review, it appears the DisCo thought more action should have been taken by center referee Allen Chapman.
This will be Nocerino’s second suspension handed down by the DisCo this season. Earlier in the year, the 31-year-old was suspended one game for entering the field of play to hug goal scorer Kevin Molino late in Orlando’s 2-2 draw against the New England Revolution at Camping World Stadium. Molino had just scored in the 92nd minute to give the Lions an apparent victory, but that was before Baldomero Toledo saw a handball in the box on Carrasco that never happened.
After garnering plenty of criticism for his play earlier in the season, Nocerino has started to win back the support of the fans over the past few weeks, and has been lauded by new Head Coach Jason Kreis, who said much of the flack that Nocerino caught was unwarranted.
"Some of it’s a little unfair, to be honest, if I think about what we watched of Antonio before I came," Kreis told reporters at Wednesday’s training session. "We’ve never seen him play in his natural role, which is a deeper role in the midfield — we’ve always seen him play a more advanced role. He’s certainly not going to be comfortable there. I think when you ask players to play out of position sometimes, they get unfairly judged for that."
Kreis also commented recently on the growing number of yellow cards and suspensions that Orlando City has seen throughout the season, and said it’s something that’s been addressed and the club is now trying to work on moving forward.
"We’ve spoken a lot about reactions to adversity from individual players," he said after the Seattle match. "For me, some of the yellow cards that have come are because of poor reactions to adversity. Now we’re at a place where we’ve collected them so we can’t go back and fix them. I’m going to hope that in the future we’ll have less of them happening so that collectively we’re not having so many and having players suspended for those yellow cards and guess what, now we’ve got a huge opportunity to react to adversity."
Clearly Nocerino didn't respond well to what he viewed as a dive by Dempsey, and now he'll have to sit a game out for it.