Atlanta United head coach Gabriel Heinze has been suspended from Wednesday’s match against New York City FC following an accumulation of yellow cards.
Atlanta United travels to New York this week, and while Heinze confirmed his trip to the Red Bull Arena with the team, assistant manager Mariano Toedtli will lead from the side. Heinze is not allowed in the stadium tunnel or locker room until after the end of the match according to Major League Soccer rules.
The coach took his third over the weekend in the Atlanta 2-2 draw with the Philadelphia Union after touching an opponent during a hot confrontation along the sideline. After the match, Heinze responded to the incident with an explanation and apology.
“If someone comes close to me, I like to touch that person,” Heinze said after the match. “In the football rules, I am not allowed to do this. We should be more focused on the players, but what I can do now is say I’m sorry. The judge was right because the rules say so. ”
During the post-match interview, Heinze revealed that he was not aware that a suspension was possible if he picked up a third yellow card, but knowing that the rules would not have affected the action earlier. The head coach claims that his commitment came to help the referee break up a potential match and added that he probably has to read Major League Soccer rules carefully.
Gabriel Heinze during Philadelphia Union vs. Atlanta United / Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images
Heinze previously received a yellow card during the game against Seattle for arguing with referee Kevin Stott, and a second card during Atlanta’s defeat against New England for once again disagreeing with referee Chris Penso. This would not be the first time an Atlanta United coach has been suspended as Gerardo Martino suffered the same fate in 2017 after kicking a ball on the pitch during a game against the Houston Dynamo.
The players asked if Heinze’s absence would affect the result on Wednesday, with defender George Bello giving a decisive answer.
“It should not be too much of a change,” he said. “We all give each other energy.”