FC Cincinnati center back Matt Miazga, recently named 2023 MLS Defender of the Year, will miss the Eastern Conference Final and, if Cincinnati advances, the MLS Cup due to suspension.
MLS announced Wednesday night that Miazga would be suspended for three games, fined an undisclosed amount and must undergo a behavioral evaluation through the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) Program after entering the team’s locker room. official after FC Cincinnati’s victory over the New York Red Bulls. at Red Bull Arena on November 4. Miazga may request a reduction in suspension based on continued commitment and compliance with any recommended treatment program.
The Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA), the union that represents professional soccer referees in the United States, called on Major League Soccer to take action after a player had to be “forcibly removed” from the locker room. Last week, FC Cincinnati coach Pat Noonan said the details of Miazga’s entry into the locker room had been “made up.”
“It’s been an hour and a half since the game and he has a pizza box in his hand,” Noonan said. “I think people have the idea that he was with his shoes on and running into that room. What happened has been invented. That part is disturbing too. Hopefully we can reach a conclusion that has him back on the field.”
The PSRA said the player entered the locker room without authorization and “acted in an aggressive and hostile manner” when security intervened.
“This is an unacceptable and, as we remember, unprecedented violation of league policy and sporting integrity,” the PSRA wrote in a statement. “We have urged MLS to take appropriate disciplinary action against the player and remind all league participants that violations like this will not be tolerated.”
Sources said The Athletic that Miazga left the referee’s locker room with a Cincinnati staff member and that stadium security did not forcibly remove him. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Pat Brennan also reported that Miazga was not removed by stadium security.
Miazga, according to two sources familiar with the matter, wanted to speak with referee Víctor Rivas about the yellow cards he received at the end of the match against the Red Bulls, which did not lead to a red card because it came in the penalty shootout. , during which time they count separately. However, those two yellow cards, combined with the one Miazga received in Game 1 of the three-game series, resulted in him being suspended for Cincinnati’s conference semifinal game against the Philadelphia Union.
Miazga’s first yellow card of the game came when arguing with Rivas after Luciano Acosta’s winning goal was disallowed at the last second. The second came after taking a penalty in the ensuing shootout. After scoring, Miazga made the heart sign with his hands and blew kisses to the Red Bulls fans, located just behind the goal used for the penalty shootout. The New Jersey native and former local Red Bulls defender continued to do so after several fans reacted angrily, interpreting the gestures as a provocation. As Miazga lingered near the penalty spot, RBNY goalkeeper Carlos Coronel collided with Miazga. The referee separated the two and showed Miazga the second yellow card.
MLS rules for the playoffs dictate that a player must serve a one-game suspension if he accumulates three yellow cards, and the record is reset before the conference finals.
FC Cincinnati beat Philadelphia 1-0 on Saturday in the semifinals with Miazga watching from a suite. Miazga was seen on the field celebrating the victory after the game, including in a video posted to the MLS account on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
That game does not count toward Miazga’s three-game suspension, as he missed that game due to the separate yellow card suspension. According to the league’s press release, “the suspension will be served for the remainder of FC Cincinnati’s games during the 2023 MLS Audi Cup Playoffs, and any remaining suspension will be served during the 2024 MLS regular season.”
Miazga entered the referees’ locker room after winning
(Photo: Howard Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)