MLS hits Whitecaps striker Cavallini with four-game suspension and fine

Vancouver Whitecaps forward Lucas Cavallini, right, takes a shot on the goal as Colorado Rapids defender Keegan Rosenberry covers in the second half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Commerce City, Colo. (David Zalubowski/AP).

The Vancouver Whitecaps will be without their leading scorer for the rest of September after Major League Soccer's disciplinary committee handed Lucas Cavallini a four-game suspension and an undisclosed fine Thursday. 

Cavallini received a red card for stepping on an opponent's head in the 53rd minute of Vancouver's 3-0 loss to Nashville SC on Aug. 27, prompting an automatic one-game suspension from the Whitecaps' Sept. 4 matchup against San Jose.

The disciplinary committee said in a statement that the additional three-game punishment is for "violent conduct." 

The 29-year-old Canadian striker told reporters last week that he regretted the play. 

"I haven't been sleeping since," Cavallini said. "I apologize for letting my teammates down, the club, the fans. … I hate to do things like this and just let the emotions get the worst out of me." 

Cavallini will miss Saturday's game against the Rapids in Colorado and two additional matches. 

Head coach Vanni Sartini said the absence will be felt as the Whitecaps make a desperate push for a post-season spot. 

The team currently sits eight points below the Western Conference playoff bar with five games to go in the regular season.

"(Cavallini's) a guy that helped us win a lot of games," Sartini said. "So of course we miss him." 

The five-foot-11, 190-pound Toronto native will be eligible to return on Oct. 1 when Vancouver hosts Austin FC. 

He has eight goals and two assists in 22 MLS games for the Whitecaps (9-13-7) this season, along with eight yellow cards and one red.

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