D.C. United forward and Canadian international Dwayne De Rosario has been suspended for two regular-season games by MLS for violent conduct in a pre-season game.
The league announced Friday that De Rosario also has been fined an undisclosed amount for the head-butt foul on Philadelphia Union midfielder Danny Cruz in the 60th minute of the pre-season match on Feb. 23. De Rosario was issued a red card for the foul.
The MLS Players Union appealed the decision on behalf of De Rosario. MLS Commissioner Don Garber heard the appeal Thursday and upheld the suspension.
"The league, working closely with our players union, our coaches, our players and our board have been working for a number of years to eliminate blows to the head," said Garber during a roundtable session with reporters in Vancouver.
"[The effort] comes from the players. It's not a top-down edict. It's actually a bottom-up edict.
"We've had precedent with two other head-butting incidents. In both of those cases, they were three games, not two games. In this case, we believe that [the suspension] was warranted. Dwayne very passionately described his view of the incident, and I upheld the committee's decision."
Garber added the appeal rejection will be the best long-term decision for protecting players' interests.
"Generally, we don't talk much about what happens in the appeal process, but I think this one probably warrants some discussion," said Garber.
MLS has a concussion protocol to which it adheres closely, and the league is intent on curbing head injuries, said Garber.
De Rosario, the 2011 league MVP, will miss United's season opener against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday and the March 9 match against Real Salt Lake.