June 15th, 2024

No more sanctions but a verbal slap on the wrist for Toronto FC, NYCFC from league


By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press on June 6, 2024.

Major League Soccer has concluded its investigation into a post-game melee involving Toronto FC and New York City FC with no additional discipline but a verbal slap on the wrist.

It seems both clubs were essentially sent to the equivalent of the principal’s office for a talking-to.

Players and staff from both sides got involved in an ugly confrontation after the final whistle of NYCFC’s 3-2 win May 11 at BMO Field. Toronto’s Federico Bernardeschi and New York’s Strahinja Tanasijevic were both red-carded for their roles.

Toronto coach John Herdman and goalkeeper Sean Johnson were subsequently suspended a game by the league. Toronto’s defender Richie Laryea was banned two games – a sanction he served while injured – while Tanasijevic got an additional game ban.

After the game, Herdman and captain Jonathan Osorio said the bad blood stemmed from an incident in a March 16 game at Yankee Stadium, alleging New York coach Nick Cushing had punched a 19-year-old TFC player at halftime in the stadium tunnel. They did not identify the player but 19-year-old Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty scored Toronto’s lone goal in the 2-1 loss.

Cushing categorically denied the allegation. Herdman said the Yankee Stadium incident did not lead to anything because cameras under the stadium had not captured the incident

Some four weeks later, the league released a short statement on the affair, confirming that an altercation that started on the field continued into the stadium tunnels in the first game and after the second game.

“The league conducted a review of both incidents and determined that players and staff from both teams involved in the altercation exhibited poor judgment and engaged in behaviour contradictory to MLS values,” the statement read.

“While no additional suspensions or fines have been issued, head coaches and executives from both clubs were required to meet with MLS commissioner Don Garber to discuss league expectations for behaviour and conduct.”

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2024.

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