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DC UNITED : Thursday July 17,2008  BY NICK FURCHAU 

Fire star Cuauhtemoc Blanco released an official apology Monday for his actions surrounding the team's July 8 U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal game, during which he was ejected and accused of later head-butting a D.C. United employee.

''I sincerely regret my inappropriate actions during the game against D.C. United,'' Blanco said in a statement. ''I disappointed my Fire teammates and coaches, D.C. United players and staff, Major League Soccer, the U.S. Soccer Federation and all our fans. I am truly sorry.'


With the Fire trailing 2-1 in stoppage time, Blanco tried to knock the ball out of D.C. defender Clyde Simms' hands during a stop in play. Defender Marc Burch shoved Blanco to the ground, drawing an ejection.

Burch told Washington media that Blanco then ''stood up and tried to poke Clyde in the eye and cut his eye open.'' Blanco denied that allegation, but the stir didn't end there.

Upon being ejected, Blanco was confronted by a D.C. United game-day operations employee, who told Blanco to leave the field as he gathered his gear near the Fire bench. MLS rules state that players must leave immediately upon ejection.

Blanco collided with the employee as he turned to leave, prompting accusations that he head-butted the employee before exiting.

''[Blanco] did stop at the bench to pick up whatever and the guy got on him, and when he turned to leave, his forehead did graze the cheek or jaw area,'' Fire vice president of communications Gregg Elkin told the Washington Post.

Elkin said Blanco's statement Monday was a ''blanket apology'' for the incidents during and after the match.

D.C. United officials have submitted a videotape of the on-field incident to the U.S. Soccer Federation, which will decide if Blanco faces any disciplinary action. MLS will wait for U.S. Soccer's verdict before deciding if Blanco deserves a league suspension for general misconduct.

CHICAGO FIRE'S CUAUHTEMOC BLANCO

 

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