The first leg of the 2018 MLS Eastern Conference Final is the last game the New York Red Bulls will play this season in which yellow-card accumulation counts for anything.
There is no threat of being suspended for the MLS Cup Final for having collected too many yellow cards - unless a player collects two in the preceding game and gets a red, of course. There are, however, six players who could be suspended for the second leg of the Eastern Conference Final at Red Bull Arena, if they pick up a yellow card in the first leg in Atlanta on November 25.
Fortunately for RBNY, five of the six players who need to worry about a yellow card on Sunday will be playing for Atlanta United.
Suspended after next caution:— Andrew Vazzano (@AVRBNY) November 24, 2018
ATL: M - Eric Remedi, M - Hector Villalba, F - Josef Martinez, D - Franco Escobar, D - Miles Robinson#RBNY: M - Sean Davis
RBNY’s only yellow-card concern in the first leg will be Sean Davis. He is not a player who gets carded too frequently, though he has managed to collect at least one in every competition he’s played in this year: MLS regular season (one in 32 appearances); MLS playoffs (one in two appearances); US Open Cup (one in his only appearance); and CONCACAF Champions League (two in five appearances). He got five yellow cards in 2017 also, though he saved all of those for league games.
Suspension for yellow-card accumulation is a penalty that has affected RBNY in the playoffs the past. Back in 2014, Bradley Wright-Phillips picked up a (nonsense, particularly by the standard the ref applied to other incidents in the game) yellow in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Final against New England Revolution. That was the year he tied the MLS single-season scoring record - so we can say with some confidence that the league will not instruct referees to look the other way if Atlanta’s record-breaking scorer, Josef Martinez, does something card-worthy in the first leg. Right?