The MLS Disciplinary Committee has suspended Damien Perrinelle for two league games, in response to an off-the-ball incident during the New York Red Bulls' 2-0 win over NYC FC. As was gleefully and widely reported on social media, Perrinelle reacted badly to getting tangled up with Jefferson Mena at a set piece - and essayed a punch to his marker's face.
Credit to Mena for quite literally taking it on the chin and making no effort to capitalize on his opponent's loss of composure. The referee missed the incident, though not because Perrinelle made much effort to hide it - and DisCo stepped in to make sure adequate disciplinary action was taken. Perrinelle will sit out RBNY's August 15 home game against Toronto FC and the match in Chicago on August 26.
There is no controversy about the suspension: in general, there isn't much excuse for punching an opponent - even ineffectively; in particular, it is unwise to do so in a nationally televised game. Safe to assume Perrinelle knows this, and we can hope he is a little more restrained the next time he's getting close attention from the opposition.
Perrinelle's absence is a blow to the Red Bulls, as he and Matt Miazga have become the team's first-choice center back pairing. Furthermore, the squad's defense is looking a little threadbare: first choice right back Chris Duvall is out indefinitely with a broken leg, and has been ably replaced by Connor Lade; first choice left back Kemar Lawrence is reported to be nursing a hamstring injury, and may miss the game against Toronto FC; Ronald Zubar, the senior center back who has scarcely been able to get out of the physio room this season, is (again) on the road to full fitness, but Jesse Marsch has indicated the player may not be ready for MLS minutes until the Chicago game.
With Perrinelle and Duvall definitely out, and Lawrence most likely missing, RBNY may have to field a back line comprising just one first-choice starter: Matt Miazga.
Lade has been an increasingly impressive force at right back, so that position at least is covered. On the left, Marsch's recent comments - as reported by Empire of Soccer - suggest he is favoring Anthony Wallace...
Anthony has done well and our record when he plays is very good. In that sense he has established himself within the team and earned the right to be on the field.
...over Roy Miller.
In many ways with us, the injuries, Costa Rica — it hasn’t been an easy year for him. I’ve challenged him to keep himself going [mentally]
That sounds ominous. If Miller's recent absence from the first team is down to his head not being in the right place, it suggests all may not be well with a player who is, at his best, a top-tier full back and capable center back in MLS (and for his country, Costa Rica). And that effectively means the squad is down another defender for the time being.
If neither Miller nor Zubar is ready to play, that virtually guarantees Karl Ouimette another start at centerback for the Toronto game at least.
Lade, Ouimette, Miazga, Wallace: it could be a makeshift back four facing Sebastian Giovinco on Saturday. And Perrinelle's two-match suspension now adds pressure to the team's preparations for the following game in Chicago.