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Real escape with hope of progress

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By ESPN Staff

Blanco receives two-year Open Cup suspension

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Soccer Federation has suspended Chicago Fire midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco from U.S. Open Cup play for at least two years.

The organization's disciplinary panel banned Blanco after he punched United midfielder Clyde Simms in the stomach and poked him in the eye July 8 during an Open Cup quarterfinal game against D.C. United.

After being ejected, he also head-butted a United employee trying to lead him away.

The ban prevents Blanco from playing in U.S. Open Cup matches in 2009 or 2010. It could be extended depending on the number of games the Fire participate in the tournament in those years.

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