2004 Sep 16

From today's Sounders news release:

Sounders Forced to Play Championship Match Without Leading Scorer

(Seattle, Wash.) - - The Seattle Sounders will be forced to play the A-League Championship match without the team's leading scorer Welton Melo. After reviewing an appeal by Sounder's management, the A-League announced today that it is upholding the one-game suspension for Welton's ejection on Sunday, September 12th in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals in Vancouver.

Welton, a Brazilian native, received his second yellow card of the match in the 71st minute in a confusing scenario during a substitution in which the head official, Tiger Liu determined Welton was "delaying" the restart of the match.

"There is an injustice being levied on a young man whose language skills and legitimate confusion were construed as delay," said Sounders General Manager Adrian Hanauer.

In the 71st minute, Sounders midfielder Chad Brown was being substituted for Welton. However in that same instance Sounder's midfielder Jason Farrell went down with an injury to his ankle. As Welton was heading off the field the Sounders coaching staff decided to change their substitution, and have Brown enter the match for the injured Farrell.

As a discussion was taking place between the Sounders coaching staff and the fourth official regarding which player was to come off the field, Liu issued Welton his second caution of the night a few feet from the sideline resulting in his ejection from the match.

"Consequently an Eastern Canadian referee determined that it was appropriate to caution him, knowing full well that the result would mean the Sounders would play a man down for the remainder of the match and that Mr. Melo would be suspended for the A-League Championship versus an Eastern Canadian team," said Hanauer.

Welton received his first yellow card caution in the 69th minute of the match while battling for position on a Sounders corner kick.

According to FIFA, rule any player sent off in a match will serve a mandatory one-game suspension to be served in the next match that team plays.

The Brazilian forward has scored 12 goals this season including two goals against the Portland Timbers in the second match of the Western Conference semi-finals to help the Sounders advance in the post season.

Prior to the two cards issued in the September 12th match, Welton received only one other caution this season. This was his first ejection of the year.