MLS CUP PLAYOFFS
Matt Miazga suspension extended after MLS investigation
The FC Cincinnati star was recently named Defender of the Year but he has been hit with a ban that will keep him out of the remainder of the playoffs.
Matt Miazga has been hit with a three-game ban and undisclosed fine for misconduct after FC Cincinnati’s playoff victory over New York Red BUlls.
The tough penalty means that Miazga will miss the remainder of 2023 for Cincinnati, who are in the Eastern Conference final. The 28-year-old was recently named MLS Defender of the Year and he was a key part of Cincinnati’s historic Supporters Shield-winning season.
But now, with his team just two games away from MLS Cup glory, Miazga is unable to feature for Pat Noonan’s team.
What did Matt Miazga do to get suspended?
The suspension comes after a lengthy investigation from the MLS Disciplinary Committee into Miazga’s actions in the game against NY Red Bulls. Cincinnati held a 1-0 lead from the first game of their best-of-three series and the second game, held at Red Bull Arena, went to a penalty shootout.
Miazga, who had already been booked during the 90 minutes, received a second yellow card during the shootout for goading home supporters after successfully converting his penalty. The referee gave him a second booking, taking his total for the playoffs to three and earning an automatic one-game suspension.
Cincinnati triumphed on penalties to book their place in the Conference semi-finals but Miazga went on to confront match officials in the locker room after the game. A statement from the Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA) claimed that Miazga “acted in an aggressive and hostile manner” after gaining unauthorised entry to the officials’ locker room.
The PSRA continued: “We have urged MLS to take appropriate disciplinary action against the player and to remind all league participants that violations like this will not be tolerated.”
Can Matt Miazga reduce his suspension?
Miazga’s suspension is another headache for head coach Noonan who has already lost key defensive players to injury. Club stalwart Nick Hagglund is out of contention due to a hamstring injury and Santiago Arias is a doubt after suffering an injury in the first game against NY Red Bulls.
As it stands Miazga’s three-game suspension will ensure that he misses the Eastern Conference final and, if they make it, MLS Cup on Saturday 9 December. The remainder of his punishment will then be served at the start of the 2024 regular season.
However there is a small chance that Miazga could reduce his punishment. He has been ordered to undergo an assessment as part of the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) Program. He could petition for a reduced suspension if he shows commitment to the program.
However with just ten to go until MLS Cup, Miazga’s chances of securing a reduction seem slim.