Bit­ing of U.S. play­ers now a meaty is­sue

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Ron­ald Blum

PHILADELPHIA» Push­ing and shov­ing? Of course. Pinch­ing? Border­line. But bit­ing? Re­tired stars Lan­don Dono­van, Alexi Lalas and Steve McMana­man said lengthy sus­pen­sions are needed to stop play­ers from sink­ing their teeth into op­po­nents, as El Sal­vado­rans did against Amer­i­cans Jozy Alti­dore and Omar Gon­za­lez in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“In my hi­er­ar­chy of things, it’s spit­ting at the top and then bit­ing as a close sec­ond of the most vile, dis­gust­ing and to be quite hon­est ridicu­lous things to do on a sport­ing field,” Lalas said Thurs­day, a day af­ter Alti­dore was bit­ten on the back of a shoul­der by Henry Romero in the 57th minute of the Amer­i­cans’ 2-0 quar­ter­fi­nal win. Gon­za­lez was gnawed by El Sal­vador cap­tain Dar­win Cerin in the 81st.

Bites have become a meaty prob­lem for soc­cer.

“The only way to put a stop to this is to have lengthy sus­pen­sions. I understand that people make bad de­ci­sions in the heat of the mo­ment, but it can never be ac­cept­able to bite an op­po­nent,” said Dono­van, like Lalas now an an­a­lyst for Fox Sports. “I would as­sume that CONCACAF will take a par­tic­u­larly hard stance given their in­sis­tence on the cap­tains speak­ing be­fore each game about the im­por­tance of act­ing in an ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner and that ‘our chil­dren are watch­ing.’ ”

Romero also twisted Alti­dore’s nip­ple dur­ing the jostling ahead of a cor­ner kick.

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