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Benjamin Angoua Suspended for Red Bulls Match

The MLS Disciplinary Committee was very busy this week, but still managed to notice this incident.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at New England Revolution Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

New England Revolution centerback Benjamin Angoua will serve a one game suspension for this play in last week’s 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC. Kyle Beckerman of Real Salt Lake and Michael Murillo of the New York Red Bulls were also suspended one match this week by the DisCo. Angoua will serve his suspension this Saturday as the Revs travel to the Red Bulls.

Now, I want to clear up a minor technicality/issue I have with this play, which is listed as violent conduct in the release. If this play is suspension worthy it would have to be for serious foul play, because this is not an off the ball foul. Ola Kamara heads the ball and during/after that action Angoua’s knee makes contact into the back of Ola. Violent Conduct in the Laws of the Game covers off the ball incidents that are punished via red cards, though this could just be a blanket designation from the Disciplinary Committee when they dole out suspensions.

Regardless, three people on the MLS Disciplinary Committee all agreed that this play warranted a suspension for likely endangering the safety of an opponent. Personally, I don’t see it here. Had Ola Kamara jumped higher or the nature of the foul was more forceful then we’d be in a far more clear territory for this play being suspension worthy. Is it possible that Angoua’s kneeing action was deemed deliberate? That’s the only reason I can see a suspension being handed out here.

However, this play in my opinion does not meet the standard of endangering the safety of the opponent nor excessive force, both of which would make it far harder to argue against a suspension. Furthermore, any similar plays in MLS for the remainder of the season should then also be punished on the field with a red card or a retro active suspension from the DisCo. This is an incredibly high standard to set on what seems like a very innocuous play and all similar plays will have to undergo the same scrutiny as Angoua’s play did in the committee meetings when determining suspensions. Yes, I think this is a clear foul by Angoua who is late and no foul was called on the play though advantage may have been signaled as the Crew maintained possession. Kamara did stay down and the match was delayed according to the MLS Timeline in the 32nd minute and play resumed in the same minute.

If this play had been ruled a yellow card on the field I think that would be very understandable. There’s clear contact and Angoua I think was expecting to go up for a header as the ball came up short and right to Ola Kamara. I don’t think the contact is excessive and the play in my opinion is more awkward than dangerous or something done with deliberate intent. I have a hard time seeing this play live as a red card, and any similar plays going forward for that matter, but that’s not for me to determine.

This decision means Angoua joins right back Andrew Farrell on the suspended list after Farrell’s stoppage time and deserved red card for a foul on Waylon Francis. This means that some combination of Joshua Smith, Je-Vaughn Watson, Kelyn Rowe and London Woodberry will likely fill in on the Revs backline with usual starters Chris Tierney and Antonio Delamea.