AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin FC midfielder Cecilio Dominguez returned to team activities Wednesday morning following his reinstatement by Major League Soccer after serving a five-game suspension.
MLS investigated Dominguez due to a report of a domestic dispute with his partner, and while the investigation was conducted, Dominguez was suspended from all team and league activities.
Dominguez will not have to miss any more games, however, the league is mandating that he attend counseling.
Not everyone is happy with the news of his return. The club’s two biggest supporters groups, The Austin Anthem and Los Verdes, protested during Austin FC’s 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy on Sunday.
Those fans participated in a 10-minute moment of silence in protest of his return to the club. Fans also held up signs with a phone number to a domestic violence helpline and messages that condemned domestic abuse in all forms.
“The members of Los Verdes vehemently condemn any form of abuse and maintain that there is no place for abusers in the Austin FC organization, the Austin community, and the soccer community as a whole,” Los Verdes said as part of a statement the group released on social media.
Austin Anthem’s statement said, in part: “Recent events involving Cecilio Dominguez raise significant concern. We do not know exactly what happened between him and his partner. Based on the information we have today, however, one thing is clear: Dominguez has lost the trust we have placed in him.”
Josh Wolff commented on the controversy in his weekly media session on Wednesday.
“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. The league reinstated Cecilio, and you know, we move forward,” Wolff said. “For me as a coach, I will continue to focus on what I can control and that’s our training environment, our culture, and what this looks like inside our training world, and I think time will tell and I think we’ll be able to see what happens with Cecilio, and again, I think he’ll get back out on the field and when he’s physically and mentally ready to do that, and I think it’s going to take some time.”
As far as how this will impact things on the field, Wolff believes that it will take some time for Dominguez to get back to his pre-suspension form.
“In the short term, he’s got to continue to work extremely hard, he was out a long time and I think that’s what we can focus on, that’s what for me where I put my mindset and the things that I can kind of control and try to prepare my players each week to grind.”
Austin FC’s next game is on the road Saturday at Real Salt Lake, kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m.
How to watch Real Salt Lake vs. Austin FC
When: Saturday, May 14 at 8:30 p.m. CDT
Where: Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah
TV: The CW Austin | Spanish: UniMás Austin