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Bedoya suspension upheld despite denying he called referee the ‘f-word’ and ‘a cheat’

Curtin spoke out Thursday on the league denying Bedoya’s red card suspension appeal; both Ale and Medunjanin will be out for Toronto FC match

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Atlanta United FC Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Union captain Alejandro Bedoya will be serving his suspension for Friday’s game against Toronto FC after his appeal was denied by the league, head coach Jim Curtin announced on Thursday.

Curtin sounded off on the situation in the opening remarks of his weekly press conference, noting that his captain was booked for dissent and accused of calling referee Sorin Stoica the “f-word” and “a cheat.”

“Ale is adamant that he did not speak to the referee in this instance,” Curtin said. “I believe Ale Bedoya, I trust Ale Bedoya.”

Bedoya was sent off for a second yellow in the 18th minute Saturday at Atlanta as Josef Martinez was about to take a penalty kick for a foul in the box called on Auston Trusty. Bedoya was standing inside the D when Martinez was about to take his kick, which could’ve been a bookable offense for delay of game, something Curtin said would have been ridiculous but that he “could live with.”

But that wasn’t the ruling, so it came down to a question of whether Bedoya cursed and name-called the ref.

“To call Ale’s character under question I think is wrong and now you get into our word verse their word and when an independent panel that involves referees is involved they’re going to side with him,” Curtin said.

The team did not appeal Haris Medunjanin’s suspension for two yellow cards shown in rapid succession for his aggressive reaction to Bedoya’s sending off. Given the nature of the response — Medunjanin basically threw a tantrum screaming and cursing at the referee and then kicked the ball into the stands — it’s likely that he’ll be out beyond Friday’s match, which precedes a two-week break for the World Cup.

“I don’t think it was handled well; it’s a bad look for the league,” Curtin said. “Did we overreact at some things? Sure, but I think the referee’s job there is the diffuse the situation and instead it kind of incited a melee.”

Curtin said a decision from the league on any additional games for Haris has not been handed down.

That means Curtin will be without his two veteran midfielders — who had played 1,710 straight minutes together dating back to last season — for at least one game and most likely more.

“It’s difficult, those are two of our best players,” Curtin said, adding that it’s “next man up mentality.”

Warren Creavalle, who picked up an assist on Fafa Picault’s goal in Atlanta, will be in the starting XI on Friday but Curtin would not reveal any decisions beyond that.

Options to pair with Creavalle include Derrick Jones, who had a less than stellar performance in the Open Cup win on Tuesday, or Anthony Fontana, who was known more as a deeper lying playmaker than he was a 10 in his pre-first team career. Adam Najem, who hasn’t seen the field this season and appears to be deeply buried on the depth chart, would be another less likely option in central midfield.