On Thursday (July, 16th) afternoon, the MLS Disciplinary Committee announced the suspension and fine of the Philadelphia midfielder José “El Brujo” Martínez for violent conduct.
The play in question occurred in the 41st minute of the Philadelphia Union’s match vs Inter Miami. Martínez was defending a ball played into the box, when he collided with Miami’s Andrés Reyes. As “El Brujo” fell from the collision he decided to kick-out at Reyes. The play happened very fast, and because of the nature of the play, the referee missed the altercation.
At the moment, it looked like there was cause to go to video review to look at the collision. Referee Silviu Petrescu decided to not go to review. At that moment it looked to be a break for the Union, but in the end, the disciplinary comity reviewed it and thought Martínez’s action warranted a fine and suspension.
“El Brujo” has only started in three matches for the Union, but it is clear that his tenacious style of play can be effective and reckless. It is something that can lead to spectacular moments like his sliding tackle in the LAFC match that resulted in him taking a cleat to the face, and also dangerous moments like the moment in the last match.
Video of the “El Brujo’s” infraction can be seen here:
Now the Union will need to decide who will play the deep-lying holding midfielder role. Will Warren Creavalle come in at the six, ore will we see Mr. sexy season himself, Matej Oravec.
This will be a big question for Jim Curtin to answer. Creavalle is the veteran defensive midfielder who can sit in front of the center backs to provide stability. His ball-winning presence makes him a good option for this position. Then there’s Oravec. While there has not been a lot of time for Matej to play, his style is one that could show some great passing prowess to the Union’s midfield. There are question marks surrounding his defensive attributes; skill in defending will be needed against a strong and reinvigorated Orlando side.
Getting the decision correct could result in winning the group, and taking nine points from the last regular-season matches. Picking the wrong player could be a big hit to the Union’s position heading into the knockout rounds of the MLS is Back Tournament.
Who will Curtin choose? Will this suspension to “El Brujo” deflate the amazing start the Union had in this MLS is Back Tournament? We’ll just have to wait to find out
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Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports