Timbers owner earns largest fine in MLS history
By Scott Hill
Saturday night, the Portland Timbers and D.C. United battled to a 1-1 draw infront of a sellout crowd of 20,438 at JELD-WEN Field. Despite finding an equalizer late in the second half to salvage a point at home, the Timbers side was filled with anger after a questionale call by the officiating lead to the only United goal.
In the 60th minute of a scoreless match, Timbers defender David Horst was called for a handball as he challenged to clear a United cross. Replays show the ball passing by Horst's body untouched, but the call by the linesman resulted in United striker Chris Pontius converting on a penalty kick, giving D.C. the 1-0 lead.
After the match, Timbers players and management voiced their displeasure about the call. Timbers owner Merritt Paulson could be seen verbally attacking the officials on the pitch following the final whistle, and continued his rant on the social media platform 'Twitter' after the match.
"All season long, not a single damn PK awarded to us. Numerous cut and dry blown calls. And let's give D.C. a gift for good measure," tweeted the fuming Timbers owner.
He added: "I don't like to complain about the officials, always sounds like excuses. This season has been unique. Literally no PK's."
On Tuesday, MLS commissioner Don Garber announced that he had fined Paulson $25,000 for "inappropriate conduct directed at officials, and through the use of social media, during and after the Timber's match."
The hefty amount surpassed a fine handed out to Red Bulls GM Erik Soler last season as the largest fine in league history, a clear warning to the rest of the MLS clubs that the league will not tolerate the public bashing of officials, both during and after the match.