(Reuters) - Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey has been suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount for an incident in a U.S. Open Cup match, Major League Soccer said on Friday.
The decision will allow the U.S. national team captain to return for the Gold Cup in July.
Following a red card to the Sounders' Michael Azira that left Seattle with eight players in their Tuesday match with the Portland Timbers, Dempsey took referee Daniel Radford’s notebook and threw it to the turf, drawing a yellow card for dissent.
He then picked up the notebook and tore it up, drawing a straight red card for abuse, MLS said.
Dempsey will miss Sounders' matches against San Jose on Saturday, Philadelphia on Wednesday and Portland on June 28, MLS said.
He could also face discipline from the U.S. Soccer Federation for future U.S. Open Cup matches.
“We do not tolerate conduct of this nature from any of our players,” MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott said in a statement.
“No matter how passionate our players are or what happens in the ‘heat of the moment,’ they must always respect all aspects of the game, especially the referees.
"In light of Clint’s actions and our past precedents, we felt that a significant suspension was appropriate.”
The U.S. play their first match in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, a competition of 12 nations from North and Central America and the Caribbean, on July 7.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina. Editing by Andrew Both)