USL announced on Wednesday suspensions and undisclosed fines to two Orange County SC players, midfielder Amirgy Pineda and winger/forward Jerry van Ewijk, for their involvement in a scuffle during a game against Portland Timbers 2 last weekend.
Pineda has been suspended six games, and van Ewijk five games, for their roles in the bust-up. Van Ewijk appeared to initiate the brawl when he pushed T2 defender Lamar Batista after the latter made a motion to kick out at him on a foul, while Pineda seemed to jump in and the announcers for the game, who were not on site but instead watching on a monitor from Florida, claimed Pineda threw punches during the scuffle. For his part, Batista was suspended three games by USL.
There’s no question the two players escalated the proceedings, and a league suspension seemed likely, but these sanctions seem rather steep. Perhaps both players did or said something that was not clear on the stream which increased their punishments, but I’ll say personally, I was expecting a 2-3 game ban instead of six and five games, respectively.
But what’s done is apparently done. The result is that both players are out for the rest of July, with van Ewijk eligible to return Aug. 2 against LA Galaxy II and Pineda available Aug. 5 against San Antonio FC.
For Orange County, the suspensions will sap depth from the midfield and especially the attack. Duke Lacroix has been sidelined for some time with an injury and it’s unclear when he’ll be ready to return. There are several players who can play in attack from their tweener roles, but one wonders if any signings will be made to help shore up the squad for the month ahead and beyond.
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