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Galaxy’s Birchall receives two-game suspension

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Four days after the Galaxy topped the Chicago Fire 2-1, the events of the game have finally come to a close.

MLS handed Galaxy defender Chris Birchall a two-game suspension and a $500 fine Wednesday as a result of his 93rd-minute tackle of Chicago’s Patrick Nyarko. Fire forward Diego Cháves received a one-game suspension and a $250 fine for a reckless tackle of Galaxy forward Landon Donovan in the 91st minute.

The MLS Disciplinary Committee said Birchall “showed utter disregard for his opponent’s safety” when he tackled Nyarko along the sideline. Birchall received a yellow card at the time, though even he admitted after the game a red card was possible.

“I bet [I could have received red] only on the aspect that it caused a bit of a riot,” Birchall said. “I think the ref saw it was a mistimed tackle. It was not meant to be vicious.”

The “riot” consisted of Chaves racing across the field to challenge Birchall while the majority of the Fire bench surrounded either Birchall or the injured Nyarko. Fire defender Josip Mikulic received a red card off the bench during the incident.

“In my opinion, 100% [Brichall should have received a red card],” Fire Coach Frank Klopas said. “But hopefully the league will review it, and they’ll act accordingly.”

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Nyarko returned to action for the Fire on Tuesday, playing 66 minutes in a 4-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls in the U.S. Open Cup. Birchall will miss the Galaxy’s matches against the Columbus Crew and the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 20 and July 30, respectively.

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