Fafa Picault of the Philadelphia Union, along with Orlando City’s Pierre Da Silva, have been suspended three games by MLS. The suspension is due to “use of offensive language during a preseason, doubleheader, closed-door scrimmage on February 14,” according to a league news release.
At this point there are no more details available about what language was used that prompted the suspension, or why it took over two weeks for the league to reveal that the two of them would be suspended for three games. I would imagine that the MLS Players Union was almost certainly involved, but nothing has been clarified by the team or MLS at this point in time.
Picault was almost certainly going to be a starter for the Union in tomorrow night’s home opener against the New England Revolution. With Ilsinho out because of an injury suffered in the same Orlando City scrimmage, Jim Curtin will be facing a selection problem on the wing. David Accam is a lock to start on one wing, but new DP signing Bořek Dočkal may sit the match out, meaning that Anthony Fontana will start at the number 10, attacking midfielder position.
Curtin has a couple of options at his disposal. First, he could insert either Marcus Epps, Fabian Herbers or Eric Ayuk into the starting lineup to take Picault’s place. Herbers had a number of good performances last season on the wing before getting injured for much of the season. Epps split last season between the Union and the Bethlehem Steel, and would be another option as a winger while Ayuk spent last season on loan in Sweden.
Curtin could also play Alejandro Bedoya out wide (as he has done for the USMNT) and insert Derrick Jones or Warren Creavalle into the starting lineup as well as one of the “double pivots” in the Union’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.
The Union could also play Creaville or Jones along with Haris Medunjanin and Bedoya as three central midfielders in a 4-3-3 formation, with Accam and Fontana starting on the wing alongside CJ Sapong at striker, but the Union change from the 4-2-3-1? That’s just crazy talk.
What do you think the Union should do to replace Picault in the lineup? Let us know in the comments!