The Washington Post

United’s Andy Najar suspended 2 more games

MLS has suspended D.C. United’s Andy Najar an additional two matches for his actions in the playoff opener last weekend, meaning he will miss both legs of the Eastern Conference finals against the Houston Dynamo.

Multiple sources confirmed the penalty to the Insider. MLS is expected to make a formal announcement soon. [UPDATE: The league has announced the suspension. Najar also was fined an undisclosed amount.]

Najar, who transitioned from midfield into the starting right back slot late in the season, was red-carded in Game 1 of the semifinals against the New York Red Bulls for throwing the ball at referee Jair Marrufo. He served an automatic one-game suspension Thursday during the second leg of the series.

The MLS disciplinary committee decided to punish him further. The players’ union appeal was denied by Commissioner Don Garber. Najar would not be eligible to return this season unless United advances to the MLS Cup on Dec. 1.

Both Najar and goalkeeper Bill Hamid will miss the opener against the Dynamo on Sunday afternoon in Houston for disciplinary reasons. Hamid was sent off in the second half Thursday, his second ejection of the season.

Veteran Robbie Russell, United’s top-choice right back at the start of the year, is expected to remain in the lineup after filling in for Najar on Thursday. Joe Willis, who stopped a penalty kick in the New York finale after replacing Hamid, will start in goal.

Najar’s league suspension will allow him to play for the Honduras national team in a friendly Wednesday against Peru at, coincidentally, Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.



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Steven Goff · November 9, 2012