The MLS Disciplinary Committee released Wednesday its judgment of the WWE-style take down Sporting Kansas City keeper Tim Melia used against Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan in a match Saturday.

The committee suspended Melia for one game and issued an undisclosed fine for “violent conduct,” according to a news release. Melia was shown a yellow card in the 56th minute for the incident in SKC’s 2-1 win at Lumen Field.

Roldan was called for a standard foul for backing into Melia at the goal line after a shot attempt, which the keeper batted away. Melia then wrapped his arms around Roldan’s shoulders and slammed him to the turf. A scrum ensued between players from both sides, and Roldan’s younger brother, Alex, was shown a yellow card in the 55th minute for his conduct in defending his brother.

The play was reviewed under MLS Disciplinary Committee Parameter 3, where the match officials see an incident and do not issue a red card, according to the news release. Punishment is determined by the committee and could have been more than the one game.

“Under Parameter 3, the MLS Disciplinary Committee shall issue either a one-match suspension on incidents in which the Professional Referee Organization acknowledges an on-field Referee/Video Assistant Referee (VAR) error and the Committee is unanimous at red card and one match,” the release read, in part. “Or the MLS Disciplinary Committee shall issue a two or more match suspension on incidents in which discipline warrants at least a two-match suspension.”


The Sounders didn’t comment on the committee’s decision, but there was belief the suspension would be more than one game. Melia served his suspension for Wednesday’s match against the Los Angeles Galaxy — a game he likely would’ve missed because of Sporting’s congested schedule.

Sporting won 2-0 and bumped the Sounders from the No. 1 spot in MLS Western Conference standings. Goal differential (22-20) is the first tiebreaker. SKC (58 points) also has a game in hand against Seattle (58 points).

“Disappointed to see Melia only get 1 game for the violent conduct on Roldan,” ESPN commentator Taylor Twellman tweeted Wednesday. “I heard it was 2 from multiple people in MLS so not sure how it got to 1. Goalkeepers are protected with stuff like this, I don’t get it.”

Craig Waibel, the Sounders’ senior vice president of soccer operations and sporting director, wrote what was called a stern letter to the league’s front office Monday regarding the incident. VAR wasn’t used during the match and a yellow was shown because, according to questions answered by PRO Referees, Melia’s actions lacked “brutality.”

The body slam went viral on Twitter with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson quote tweeting a clip of the play and presuming Melia was shown a red card. The 15 second video tweeted by FOX Soccer had 2.3 million views by Wednesday afternoon.


MLS’s official Twitter account latched onto The Rock’s comments by posting, “Fair to say he laid the smackdown,” which drew criticism from the Sounders club and a host of soccer pundits.

Many wondered if the league was promoting violence or acknowledging its officials were wrong in initially showing a yellow card and more substantive punishment will be made. The league hasn’t offered comment, but the tweet hasn’t been deleted.

“To me it was clearly a red card because of the intent that Melia showed,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said this week. “It was retaliation. … Our sport needs to have rules in place to prevent that type of behavior.”

Seattle (17-8-7) lost to Los Angeles FC on Tuesday at Banc of California Stadium. The Sounders are now 0-3-1 in their past four matches. The club secured a top-four slot to host a first-round postseason game. The No. 1 seeds in the Eastern and Western conferences receive a first-round bye and home field advantage.

The New England Revolution clinched the MLS Supporters’ Shield and top overall spot after Seattle lost Saturday to SKC.

The Sounders host the Galaxy on Monday for the season finale at Lumen Field. Rave Green co-captain Nico Lodeiro (knee) returned for the LAFC loss and Schmetzer intimated stars Raul Ruidiaz (hamstring) and Jordan Morris (knee) are nearing a return.

“How do we reshuffle the deck there to make sure we get all of those guys out on the field at the same time; that’s where we’ll do a little tinkering,” Schmetzer said Tuesday. “That’s probably where most of the emphasis and the training here the next couple of weeks will happen.”