Tim Howard has been suspended by MLS for three games and has been fined an undisclosed amount for foul language directed toward a fan during the match and for an altercation with a fan after the game.
Howard appeared to be agitated at various points throughout the game. The veteran keeper responded to fans on both ends of the stadium and during interactions with Sporting Kansas City players and even his own team at times.
Rapids statement on Howard's suspension:
Tim Howard made an unfortunate and regrettable mistake for which he is being disciplined by MLS. While this is out of character for Tim, we do not condone these actions. We accept the league’s decision and look forward to moving past this. The incidents that took place during our match at Sporting Kansas City last weekend do not represent the Colorado Rapids Soccer Club or Tim’s character and beliefs, on and off the pitch.
The suspension will be served during Colorado’s next three MLS regular-season matches.
Howard appeared to react to fans in the Cauldron end at least a couple of times in the first half and in the second half Howard responded to a fan in the South Stand that was caught on video and tweeted out.
Both fellow U.S. National team regular Matt Besler and potential future U.S. forward Dom Dwyer got under Howard’s skin in the second half. Howard also confronted Dwyer after the match as well.
When Dwyer was asked about it post-match he responded, “We are both competitive people and we like to win but only one person can win.”
Dwyer declined to discuss what the conversation was about by saying “It was loud, I couldn’t really hear.”
The MLS Players Union has come out with a statement regarding the incident between Howard and the Sporting KC fan(s). In the statement (seen below) Howard acknowledged his part in the situation and the MLSPU agrees that his actions were not appropriate. The union though points out that Howard was not the only one involved in the situation and states their disappointment with the league’s handling of the situation.
The statement continues by saying that the fans involved in the situation violated MLS’ Fan Code of Conduct, which says that fans must be respectful to each other and players. The union says that Kansas City fans involved in the situations repeatedly violated the code of conduct.
The union’s statement goes further into the situation in the tunnel post game, saying that a fan with alcohol in hand came within two feet of Howard and aggressively yelled in his face, to which Howard responded. For those that have not been to Children’s Mercy Park, this incident would have likely occurred in an area where both players and fans with access to the stadium’s Field Club walk after the game is over, which would allow a fan to be in that close proximity to Howard.
Statement on Tim Howard Disciplinary Decision: "Tim takes responsibility for his actions, but MLS needs to do the same..." pic.twitter.com/uQMTV6Hk9O— MLS Players Union (@MLSPlayersUnion) April 15, 2017
Sporting Kansas City has responded to the union’s statement today to Sam McDowell of the KC Star, with team president, Jake Reid saying he was “obviously surprised.”
Reid then goes on to talk about the club’s dedication to security in the stadium, mentioning how they’re one of the few teams with a security team on staff full time. He defends the security personnel, but says that the club will look into their policies after this incident.