Marc Burch fined, suspended over slur

Mike Stobe

Seattle Sounders left back Marc Burch will play no further part in the playoffs. During his side's 1-0 win against Real Salt Lake on Thursday, the defender was caught on camera appearing to mouth a homophobic slur at an opponent. Burch released a statement apologising for his mistake, but that doesn't mean he's escaped discipline from Major League Soccer, who have banned him for the final three matches of the campaign.

With MLS involved in a television campaign aimed at stopping racism, sexism and homophobia, it would have been a huge surprise had Burch got away without a ban. The suspension means that the 28-year-old will miss both legs of Seattle's conference final against the LA Galaxy, as well as the MLS Cup Final itself should the Sounders make it that far. He's also been told to attend sensitivity and diversity training and has been fined an undisclosed amount.

Leo Gonzalez, Seattle's first choice at left back, is currently listed as 'day to day', although Sounders coach Sigi Schmid has indicated he's more likely to make it back for the second leg than the first. Zach Scott is likely to make an emergency start if Gonzalez doesn't make it back to match fitness.

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