MLS sanctions Dynamo supporters

DynamoFans (Getty Images)

Houston Dynamo supporters crossed the line on the road a few times last season, and as a result, their privileges have been limited by MLS heading into the 2012 campaign. 

In a letter written by the league to Dynamo supporters groups, the club's fans have been sanctioned and restricted for breaching the Fan Code of Conduct during three occasions last season during road games.

At a regular season game against FC Dallas on Sept. 24, the Eastern Conference championship against Sporting Kansas City on Nov. 6 and the MLS Cup final against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Nov. 20, Dynamo supporters brought prohibited smoke bombs into the stadium and ignited them. The league's letter also states that at MLS Cup, Dynamo fans threw ignited smoke bombs and other objects "that presented a safety risk" onto the playing field.

As punishment, Dynamo fans will be restricted from bringing permitted items such as flags, banners, confetti and drums to road games on an indefinite basis. While the league maintains that the ban will "be in effect until otherwise notified by MLS," it will be in place for Houston's games against Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center on March 11 and Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park on July 7 without question.

The letter also states that a decision to end the ban will be made after the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12, at which point the league will evaluate the Dynamo supporters' conduct on the road and at home games before coming to a conclusion.

"The decision to impose this sanction is based on the League-wide position that misconduct at any MLS event can affect a fan's standing at other MLS facilities," the league wrote in its letter. "MLS will not tolerate behavior which threatens the safety of any fan, stadium employee or match participant. The actions of just a few individuals can influence the perception of all of our supporters, clubs and League."

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What's your take on this situation? Think the league is making the right call? Is the punishment deserved? 

Share your thoughts below.

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79 Responses to MLS sanctions Dynamo supporters

  1. Anthony says:

    Will Sporting KC supporters have a bobble-head ban this year?

  2. jonk says:

    That’s why you don’t throw stuff on the pitch.

  3. jim b says:

    The difference there is that the guy was quickly pointed out, removed from the stadium, arrested and then banned from the stadium. Self-policing goes a long way towards avoiding these league sanctions. Nice try though

  4. ZoroEatsYou says:

    The fact that the league does NOT have a standard for away travel should be something ALL MLS fans worry about. What happens the next time something like this or similar happens? Are they treating it as a case by case basis or are they going to screw all away supporters?

  5. jonk says:

    Presumably SKC learned that you hand out vouchers to the first however many fans when they walk in and then distribute the bobbleheads or whatever after the game.

  6. Poo says:

    sweet picture.

  7. jonk says:

    Hopefully the Independent Supporters Council (that recently met, wrote a charter, etc) can help in this. Though I’m sure a certain supporters group that didn’t feel the need to partake will scoff and say their away fans would never do anything bad anyway.

  8. Shmenge says:

    It absolutely is. They lit these off at MLS Cup 2007 and nary a whisper of complaint.

    I think they have to separate out the actions of individuals who throw things on the field–who can be caught on camera and punished individually–from harmless smoke tifo and blanket bans aimed at one club’s supporters.

  9. I can understand the smoke bomb ban, and I wouldn’t mind it being league wide. I like being able to actually see the game, be it in the stadium or on TV. I can see confetti as it looks subpar when littering the pitch. But banners? Drums? These aren’t going to make it on the field.

  10. chad says:

    i remember a few years ago watching chivas supporters through lit firecrackers from the balcony down onto rsl supporters…don’t think the league cared about these type of matters.

  11. dan says:

    no those are the punishments for the smoke bombs

  12. chris says:

    They should ban drums and confetti permantly. I hate seeing confetti on the field about as cheesy as you can get.

  13. Mouf says:

    Or u just do what you always do and identify the event correctly as a single instance..

  14. Oh Canada says:

    Where was this type of response to TFC when they destroyed the South Stands, Burned a hole in the canopy, and threw numerous smoke bombs on the pitch with play going on 3 years ago in Columbus?

  15. Mouf says:

    Wasn’t on Cauldron end, it was a college kid, ex KSU walk on WR actually, and he arrested and charged.

  16. THomas says:

    Obviously this is terrible and crossed the line…however that pic is pretty legit.

    Having passionate, vocal supporters willing to travel is a big step for MLS, let’s hope they can do so safely and avoid anything like thsi if the future.

  17. chris says:

    Drums are so annoying. All they do is add an uneccesary background noise to the game. Just as bad as vuvuzelas

  18. jgdurl says:

    You know MLS is becoming a better league when the supporters groups are getting sanctioned.

  19. yankiboy says:

    I have a completely different take. I love having musical instruments at a game. I don’t have a problem with the vuvuzelas. I don’t find them annoying at all. I think that they add to the “flavor”, the atmosphere, more often than not…

  20. RK says:

    It was sad how those Toronto supporters felt entitled to throw stuff at the corner-kick takers.

  21. Trent says:

    True. TFC has to be the worst. Awful “fans.”

  22. Anywhere says:

    Well the Dynamo did hand out bans to those responsible but MLS didn’t think it was enough, hence the sanctions. The lack of road tifo stings a bit since KC is probably the only easy roadtrip this year. Nothing new though.

    I’m worried they’re being made an example of. MlS has a deserved reputation for not being fair. And one wonders if this would have happened had Houston played RSL in the final.

  23. Berlin says:

    This is how it starts. First the smoke, then the confetti, then the drums, then “abusive” cheers (aren’t all cheers against the other team inherently abusive, e.g. booing), standing, and next thing you know you have sterile corporate NFL games.

  24. Devin Brown says:

    I agree with this 100%. There is no excuse for throwing items on the pitch. That needs to stop entirely.

    That being said, I think this issue is being wrapped in a blanket of safety concern when the reality is that the league wants more control over SG activity in order to provide a more sanitized product for television distribution.

    Again, throwing things on the pitch is unacceptable, but let’s frame this discussion correctly. No players, fans, referees, staff were hit by anything thrown on the pitch. Smoke sticks were thrown onto the field after the game was over. Nobody is even talking about the LA fans raining small innocuous junk down on Tally Hall during the game. LD and DB milked the whole incident to such an extent that even the referee gave LD a yellow card for time wasting.

    I have no argument against this sanction if it is applied evenly to all incidents across the board. If Houston fans have to be made an example of in order for this to start to happen everywhere, then so be it.

  25. Mig22 says:

    It is a never ending source of amazement to me that people who attend games can’t draw the line between support and stupidity. Whether it’s throwing things on the pitch (besides confetti, that’s harmless if unattractive), yelling racist crap, or like at an game in certain cities, picking fist fights.

    Where is the wiring failure?

  26. Jason says:

    Throwing smoke bombs on the pitch is one thing, however I otherwise support tifo 100%. It adds to the atmosphere, and I know the Dallas policy of zero tifo is ridiculous. Maybe that’s one of the reasons they can’t barely give away tickets for some games.

    I’d rather see the picture above, then a picture of some soccer Moms and Dads sitting their half asleep wearing sun visors.

  27. Gnarls says:

    The traveling Houston fans acted like a bunch of drunk teenagers at the MLS Cup. They threw sh*t onto the pitch and caused a delay of game. They refused to show just the slightest display of courtesy while LA were receiving their trophy by screaming and chanting during the presentation. And they actually got into brawl amongst themselves at one point, which is pretty funny. I have no sympathy for them, whatsoever. If you can’t act like an adult in public, stay home.

  28. joblo says:

    he should’ve walked on as a QB.

  29. epablo says:

    omg these Houston supporter groups have no class. And they showed it at the MLS cup.

  30. Oh Canada says:

    Im not saying that at all. In fact with the utter lack of success the club has had to stick with them you have to be a pretty good fan. Its just that that day in Columbus they were out of control. I know they will say CPD was also out of control, but that was a response to their recklessness.

  31. Gnarls says:

    No, that’s an unrealistically bleak prediction. MLS has learned in recent years to embrace tifo, banners, chants, etc. If MLS games looked anything like NFL, we’d suddenly be back at 1990s attendance levels again. Not going to happen.

    That said, there is a point of diminishing returns, after which supports begin to hurt the fan experience for others. It is inevitable that supporter groups will test that boundary. Throwing sh*t onto the pitch, beaming goalkeepers with bobbleheads, and being a general annoyance to everyone within earshot all seem to be beyond the boundary of acceptable behavior. Houston is set a precedent at the MLS Cup, so they’ve been made an example of.

  32. stpauljosh says:

    that game in the pic is the game i would by tix for (and bring my 9 yr old son- family values!). not the game where (as stated) “moms and dads sitting half asleep..”

    protcet the players and the field, Don, but tread lightly on the atmosphere dampening. you’ll be shooting your own foot.

  33. Kishan Jeter says:

    As a Houston Dynamo fan I’m glad this happend. I was in California for the 2011 MLS Cup and I was embarressed seeing other Dynamo Supporters throwing objects at players on the field. It looks low class. We’re not in a time period anymore where people throw tomatoes, eggs, and tar & feather people in the streets. It’s retarded.

  34. chris says:

    hahah the rest of the elite American sport leagues have great atomospheres and they dont have any tifo. It adds nothing the atomosphere thats a joke

  35. stpauljosh says:

    ummm, beg your pardon?

  36. Gnarls says:

    Word. I knew the majority of Houston’s traveling fans were not involved in the shenanigans, but it only takes a handful of knuckleheads to ruin it for everyone. I hope this is a one-off for MLS, in terms of punishments/sanctions. Lesson learned, let’s move on, yeah?

  37. chris says:

    Go to a Packers game

  38. bryan says:

    i love the smoke bombs and that picture is why. but don’t throw it onto the pitch. like in DC, it should only be allowed in certain sections. you sit in that section, you know there will be a possibility of smoke bombs.

    they even let people smoke cigs in the supporter’s section.

  39. 99 says:

    So is using the word “retarded”. otherwise, fine post.

  40. jlm says:

    what is tifo?

  41. yankiboy says:

    I have never liked the smoke bombs.

    I guess that’s one of the reasons why I’m no longer stand in the sections with the Eagles and Brava at RFK. I’m just not feelin’ it.

    I still remember sucking in orange smoke at the 2007 MLS Cup. The Dynamo fans were real cool. I didn’t dig the smoke.

  42. BetaMale says:

    I sat right next to Houston’s section during the MLS Cup Final and they were definitely trying to hit and hitting Galaxy players, especially as they moved the ball towards the corner in order to kill the game.

    They deserve this sanction.

  43. adam says:

    beckham and donovan weren’t on the field so the mls didn’t care.

  44. ZoroEatsYou says:

    Go watch baseball then.

  45. Colin says:

    +1. I was a few sections over from HOU’s fans, and it was ridiculous. Definitely trying to hit LD/DB.

    A five-year-old behind me summed it up pretty good at the time: “Sore losers.”

  46. SeedorfGoalz says:

    Seriously, throwing anything on the pitch or at a player is complete stupidity and no, it doesn’t make you “hardcore”. I would hope supporters could police themselves and take care of the individuals responsible for it.

  47. David St. Hubbins says:

    so punish the individual fans with banning orders, don’t take it out on the hundreds of innocent Houston fans who behaved properly.

    this is a jack-booted move by MLS HQ coming punishing hundreds of innocent people just to get back at a couple of guilty ones.

  48. Ian says:

    The fact of the matter is that these groups are expected to govern themselves. From what it sounds, the leaders didn’t do enough to stop it from happening a third time, so here we are.

  49. Northzax says:

    The supporters groups get special privileges (first crack at certain sections, banners, drums, etc) and are therefore expected to police themselves. If someone in your section is acting like this, point then out to security, or you are, frankly, partly responsible for what comes next. You can’t use the group as cover and then complain about group sanctions.

  50. Ian says:

    I don’t know about the confetti, but you’re i the minority regarding the drums.

  51. BC says:

    Barca fans tossed a decapitated pigs head at Figo upon his return to Camp Nou in a Madrid uniform. Nothing wrong with a little Morbo in MLS, smoke bombs are hardly flares! What would Garber do to Fenerbahce fans?? LOL link to youtube.com

  52. treasure22 says:

    “jack-booted” ? Man, please reserve these words for something a little more worthy. They can’t bring flag, etc… to the games. No blood will be shed.

  53. curmudgeon says:

    @adam: And it wasn’t shown happening on national TV. But you’re on the right track, absolutely.

  54. Edwin in LA says:

    I have to ask? You are a Dynamo fan aren’t you? And from Houston I am imagining or at least live in the region?

    You guys don’t get tired of making excuses and for whatever happens to all of your sports teams ESPECIALLY when it comes to facing big cities or just plain winning teams that beat you?

    You implying that it’s just because it was in LA? Pretty sure it all started in Dallas as they did document the things done in the game there? That one should have been easy to spot with as little FC Dallas fans that show up to the now ex-Pizza Hut Park.

    What about in Kansas City? Nothing guilty there? Relax how many of you actually do anything worth while as far as traveling fans anyway? If it’s not during the playoffs I don’t think is going to matter much. Notice it was only the 2 big Playoff games and the 1 game that is within quick driving distance during the regular season?

  55. Edwin in LA says:

    You guys never seen a Raider home game huh?

    Or even a road game at say San Francisco or San Diego…..where it tends to be pretty much neutral with all the Raider fans

  56. Ian says:

    that’s beyond debatable.

  57. Edwin in LA says:

    God you must one of those “gentleman’s game” type of peeps that care more about the damn handshakes being done in a mandated gesture than let it play out so we can see who the real sportsmanship examples and the brats are

    Try watching a Argentinian game for say Boca or Velez and maybe don’t pay attention to all the confetti and pay attention to the quality and entertaining aspect of ACTUAL skill and technique among players with technical level, as opposed to run run run, by physical and park it for 90 minutes with the occasional long shot and successful long booted pass from the English game, but I’m sure a clean pitch and quite boring stadium of West Brom vs Stoke or Blackburn vs Newcastle is much better with everyone looking like they are at a Funeral wearing long dark colored or black coats and applauding for a long run like it was track or something when it was simply a clearance on defense….

  58. Dax says:

    Way to prove your PC bona fides (while going full retard).

  59. Edwin in LA says:

    Don’t the majority of the NFL teams use smoke for their introductions at the beginning of EVERY NFL game?

  60. Chris says:

    I’m glad this is being done. It shows the league is serious about supporter conduct. I certainly apriceate Dynamo fans and their passion, but they’ve been problematic at times for a while. I remember some throwing beer at Altidore at Giant Stadium back in ’07, I believe.

    As long as MLS remains fair and hold all supporters to the same rules I don’t think there should be a problem. If this results in the supporter groups not being allowed flags and banners, however, then it will be an issue.

  61. coop says:

    At least those Englishmen don’t pretend to be shot by a sniper whenever a breeze hits. Or riot when their team loses. If I wanted to watch a bunch of weak kids flopping around the pitch maybe I would watch south American leagues. For that skill the have the sportsmanship of spoiled brats.

  62. SoccerScrub says:

    My feelings exactly! What REALLY gets me is that MLS has actually used a similar pic from the 2007 MLS Cup in ads to promote the league to a broader audience. But now we’re being santioned for the same? Don’t get it.

  63. dcpohl says:

    The MLS front office is a bunch of nancies.

  64. The Imperative Voice says:

    Banning the drums for road games is a pretty harsh deal, if you’ve heard the Dynamo SG shtick. Lot of drumming. Perhaps too much? We’ll see if this pushes the envelope past the tifo and drums and certain chants that have been de rigeur since 2006. It might be doing a favor, it could use freshening.

    The smoke bombs is kind of a fake issue, no one’s going to push that envelope to live stuff, but I understand the tossing of stuff on the field, consistent issue, I get bored watching a Dynamo game get halted for streamers or other “throw-ins.” It’s cute pre-game or for a goal. It’s annoyance during play or interrupting a CK.

    In terms of effectiveness, the whole SG concept is changing with the new stadium anyway, so maybe this is trying to use a transition period to make a point. The first several games will also be road efforts so they can push the issue and then back off by the first May home game. Tempest in a teapot, IMO. But they could use to clean up their acts and freshen the repertoire up in the interim. New music/ songs/ chants/ maybe get the stadium involved like Seattle instead of it being so in-group.

  65. bb says:

    Still not as bad as vuvus, but definitely annoying.

  66. Roger says:

    That’s fine as long as it’s for away games. Can’t wait to see the environment in the new stadium!!! :)

  67. Brent McD says:

    Chris, you might not want to watch a game in Argentina. Get over yourself

  68. mabeuf says:

    I think everyone would be singing the same song if this happened to their team.

    Bottom line: If the league is going to take actions like this they need to communicate with SGs and the team, a step which was not taken.

    This punishment is negligible as the vast majority of fans don’t travel (especially in geographically isolated Houston). All it did was give the team and fans more local press.

  69. The Imperative Voice says:

    This didn’t happen to the “team,” it happened to the SGs. As a non-SG Dynamo fan I have occasionally found the antics of tossing streamers, etc. to be counterproductive to the experience and even the team’s chance by draining valuable time off the clock for cleanup. In fact, visiting teams often milk the cleanup for all it’s worth. So don’t drape yourself in the orange like it’s us vs. them.

    The Dynamo SGs were punished for, among other things, what happened in LA. So they “don’t travel?” Verges on self-refuting there, eh? Or perhaps your point is about the “vast majority of fans.” But I don’t think the vast majority of any teams’ fans travel anywhere. And that’s really a red herring because we were talking about the SG’s, an unusually motivated set, anyway. Are you suggesting the Dynamo SGs don’t travel? Then why’d they bother with the new rules?

    To the extent it was done without prior communication, that probably is because this was a slap on the wrist. It doesn’t affect home games and there won’t be any for months anyway. It affects road games but not the right to show up for them. It’s not a big deal but I think it is a hint that change is desired, and moving into the stadium might be a useful transition point for it to occur.

  70. The Imperative Voice says:

    You really oughta toss in full disclosure you’re with El Batallon, the Dynamo SG.

  71. Frenchy says:

    Imperative, or should I say Juvechelsea, what does mabeuf need to disclose?

  72. The Imperative Voice says:

    If he’s in a Dynamo SG — like say, El Batallon — I think he’s misleading people by acting like an ordinary poster. I’ve seen a post on the Houston Chronicle under his same SN, when they had a blog post saying the Texian Army was the best SG, where he promoted El Batallon instead.

    I may be passionate about the Dynamo and have a particular POV with which some disagree, but I am a private citizen, don’t work for the team or have a SG membership, I don’t have a dog in the SG fight. He’s however made a point of promoting his SG online and now he’s on here, without telling people he’s in a SG, talking about the ban.

    My identity IRL or on someplace I might have previously posted is immaterial; I’m not carrying water for some unacknowledged third party who has a direct interest in the ban and its contents. It would be like a player’s agent posting undisclosed on a discussion thread of their potential transaction, or the team sub rosa defending their decision to pass on that same player.

    I have zero problem with him talking — it’s not a censorship issue — I just think if a SG member comes on here defending his SG on a thread about Dynamo SGs, he should be letting people know.

  73. mabeuf says:

    JuveChelsea, I’m not with an SG. I’m born and raised in Houston, but I haven’t lived there for five years. Good research though.

    Good to see you’re as all over the place on these boards as on BigSoccer.

  74. William says:

    Juve, is that you?

  75. Cougarclaws says:

    Texian Army Rebukes MLS for Sanctions Against Dynamo Supporters:

    link to texianarmy.org

  76. prizby says:

    no more out of control than the cop who randomally decided to taser a fan or the fact that after the game, the so called columbus hooligans moved from their end of the stadium and situated themselves by the tfc fans exit

    you should also check your facts…your own security guards threw the smoke on the canopy and onto the fields after they confiscated from the TFC fans

  77. prizby says:

    whats more sad is the mls didn’t cry about until freddie lundjberg made a fuss

  78. prizby says:

    smoke bombs get smuggled into the stadiums in the drums