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Strahinja Tanasijević suspended additional match for Toronto melee

The New York City defender is suspended for a second match and fined for his role in the on-field ugliness at BMO Field, with Toronto's Richie Laryea also receiving extra discipline.

Tanasijević will be unavailable for the Hudson River Derby. Photo: New York City FC.

Moments ago, the MLS Disciplinary Committee handed down more punishment for both New York City FC and Toronto FC following the ugly post-match scenes that unfolded at BMO Field on May 11.

This round of discipline is in addition to the suspensions announced before the slate of May 15 matches, which saw the MLS DisCo hit five individuals with one-match suspensions: New York City defender Strahinja Tanasijević, plus Toronto head coach John Herdman, as well as TFC players Prince Owusu, Sean Johnson, and Richie Laryea.

Today's disciplinary decisions see Tanasijević suspended for an additional match and given an undisclosed fine, with Laryea also suspended for a second match and fined an undisclosed amount.

The MLS DisCo says Tanasijević's additional suspension and fine is "for violent conduct under Disciplinary Committee Parameter 2," with that parameter covering instances where a referee has issued a red card, but supplemental discipline is still warranted.

Tanasijević gets the extra game for a headbutt attempt on Sean Johnson, which brought the on-field confrontation to a head (no pun intended), sending the former New York City captain into a rage as he chased after Tanasijević. This means Tanasijević will have missed out on the NYCFC trip to Philadelphia and the year's first installment of the Hudson River Derby.

Laryea's extra suspension and fine is "for violating the Mass Confrontation Policy by inciting and/or escalating a mass confrontation," according to the Disciplinary Committee's release, which you can read in full here.

The suspension lengths are almost identical to what was first reported by Tom Bogert of The Athletic on May 14, though Toronto's Laryea and Owusu each received shorter suspensions than what was first mentioned by Bogert.

Owusu was said to be looking at a two-game ban, as he, like Tanasijević, was issued a red card after the match. The Toronto striker, though, looks to have served his time, as he was not given an additional game's suspension by the MLS DisCo.

Also looking to escape further punishment: John Herdman, who went out of his way to confront Nick Cushing post-match at BMO Field, then followed it up by airing an accusation that the NYCFC head coach punched a 19-year-old Toronto player, presumed to be Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, at halftime of the New York City-Toronto match at Yankee Soccer Stadium on March 16. Cushing has consistently, vehemently denied that accusation.

New York City FC asks MLS to investigate assault allegation
New York City FC head coach Nick Cushing categorically denies that he punched any Toronto FC player or staff member.

Herdman missed his team's away loss to Nashville SC on May 15, but looks set to return to the bench for Toronto's derby with CF Montréal. Herdman also seems to have found some remorse for his and his team's actions following their home loss to New York City on May 11.

John Molinaro of TFC Republic reports that Herdman "admitted he and his players should have shown more discipline," with Herdman going on to say "You let yourself down in those emotional moments...With passion, you need discipline, and sometimes passion will spill over into that other side where it just comes out."

It's unclear if this second suspension announcement marks the end of the drawn-out drama between New York City and Toronto.

Nick Cushing said New York City FC had requested MLS make a full investigation of all that went down between his NYCFC and Herdman's TFC in both their 2024 meetings, though the league has said nothing further about any ongoing investigations or Herdman's accusations against Cushing.