Former Premier League player Richard Chaplow has been suspended for two matches for verbally abusing openly gay opponent Robbie Rogers.
Rogers, 29, said he was subjected to a repeated “gay slur” during a match between his LA Galaxy II team and Chaplow’s Orange County Blues.
Chaplow, who was also fined, admitted he had used “profane language”.
But the former West Brom and Southampton player added: “I am being wrongfully linked to homophobic slurs.”
Orange County said they “pursued the investigation vigorously” but found “no compelling evidence” to back up the allegation from US international and ex-Leeds United United midfielder Rodgers.
United Soccer League (USL) president Jake Edwards said: “We cannot, nor will we, condone any language that is counter to the values we have instilled throughout the USL.”
Rogers, making his return from injury in Saturday’s game, said he had not heard another “gay slur” in four years since returning to the MLS.
He said he spent the journey home from the match “wishing I had punched or head-butted” the player, who he did not name.
Chaplow joined US third-tier side Orange County in July.
He said the last 72 hours had been “dark and stressful”, adding: “I have a family member that is part of the LGBT community. I fully understand the weight and pressures it brings.
“I would like to sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended by the profane language I used on the pitch in response to what I felt was an overreaction to a tackle. This was obviously not the correct way to represent myself or the club.”