Update: MLS announced Friday afternoon that the suspension will be just for the Columbus game.
Union playmaker Marco Fabián will be suspended for Saturday’s game against the Columbus Crew (7:30 p.m., PHL17) as supplementary discipline for the red card ejection two weekends ago that had him miss last Sunday’s game in Atlanta, a source with direct knowledge confirmed to the Inquirer.
Fabián earned the red card in the March 10 game at Sporting Kansas City. The Mexican star landed studs-first on the right wrist of Sporting winger Johnny Russell after jumping into the air to avoid a Russell slide in his direction. It was a controversial call, but officials made such landings a point of emphasis in their preseason meetings with teams.
The Union chose not to appeal the red card. The exact length of the additional suspension isn’t known yet, but given past precedent, it’s likely to be one game. An official announcement of the decision is expected from Major League Soccer on Friday.
Word of the possibility got out Thursday when Union captain Alejandro Bedoya alluded to it in an Instagram post. Bedoya spotted an ad for Saturday’s game with Fabián in it, and noted that Fabián “can’t play in this game for being a bad boy.” Bedoya also offered a few emojis expressing his annoyance.
The Union were already facing significant depth issues with five of their 26 players on international duty and three players injured. They also had to contend with being out of roster compliance because when Jamiro Monteiro’s visa paperwork clears (it hasn’t yet), the team will have 10 international players on the squad -- two more than the allowed eight.
Two players are on the verge of acquiring green cards, though the Union haven’t named them. They were supposed to have been taken care of by now, but the applications are stuck in immigration bureaucracy.
One of the excess international players has been accounted for by loaning Kacper Przybylko to Bethlehem Steel. If Monteiro is cleared to play Saturday, the Union might try to loan Fabián down to Bethlehem Steel for the weekend. (Bethlehem hosts Memphis 901 FC in Chester on Sunday, so Fabián wouldn’t have to travel anywhere.)
The USL, however, has a history of stopping MLS teams from getting around extra suspensions by sending players down. If that happens here, the Union would have to send down a different international player, and their game day roster would be limited to 16 players.