Atlanta United head coach Gabriel Heinze is suspended from Wednesday’s match against New York City FC after an accumulation of yellow cards.
Atlanta United travel to New York this week, and while Heinze confirmed his trip to Red Bull Arena with the team, assistant manager Mariano Toedtli will be directing from the sidelines. Heinze is not permitted in the stadium tunnel or the locker room until after the game concludes per Major League Soccer regulations.
The coach picked up his third over the weekend at Atlanta’s 2-2 draw with the Philadelphia Union after touching an opposing player during a heated confrontation along the sidelines. After the match, Heinze responded to the incident with an explanation and apology.
“If somebody comes close to me, I like to touch that person,” Heinze said after the game. “In the soccer rules, I’m not allowed to do this. We should be more focused on the players, but what I can now is to say I’m sorry. The referee was right because the rules say this.”
During the post match interview Heinze revealed that he was unaware that a suspension was possible if he picked up a third yellow card, however, knowing the regulations prior would not have affected the course of action. The head coach claims his involvement occurred to help the referee break up a potential fight, adding that he probably needs to read Major League Soccer’s rules more carefully.
Heinze previously received a yellow card during the match against Seattle for arguing with referee Kevin Stott, and a second one during Atlanta’s defeat against New England for once again disagreeing with referee Chris Penso. This wouldn’t be the first time an Atlanta United coach is suspended as Gerardo Martino suffered the same fate in 2017 after kicking a ball onto the field during a match against the Houston Dynamo.
Players were asking if Heinze’s absence would impact the result on Wednesday, with full-back George Bello providing a defining answer.
“It shouldn’t be too much of a change,” he said. “We all bring each other energy.”