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By ESPN Staff

Clark receives longest suspension in league history

NEW YORK -- Houston Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark was suspended nine games by the MLS -- the longest in league history -- for violently kicking Carlos Ruiz on Sunday.

With Houston winning 3-0, Clark kicked Ruiz in the right shoulder while he was on the ground, causing a brief skirmish between the teams. Clark was ejected.

"I have decided that it is necessary to take firm action to reflect the fact that Ricardo Clark's violent kick to Carlos Ruiz in last weekend's game against FC Dallas, while out of character, is unacceptable behavior from an MLS player," said league commissioner Dan Garber. "In taking this action, Major League Soccer is sending a signal that it will not accept reckless and dangerous behavior on its fields. If there is a repeat of this kind of behavior by any MLS player, even firmer sanctions can be expected in the future."

Garber also fined Clark $10,000. The suspension surpassed the previous-long of six games that Dario Sala, Thomas Ravelli, and Andy Herron received.

"I hope and believe that Ricardo Clark will reflect on and learn from his mistake and become a better professional as a result."

Clark's suspension includes the automatic one-game that a player gets for a red card offense. He will serve the nine-game suspension throughout the remainder of the regular season, MLS Cup playoffs and into the start of the 2008 season.