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Bobby Boswell suspended for the first leg of D.C. United's MLS playoff series against the New York Red Bulls

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The MLS Disciplinary committee has handed out a punishment for an off-the-ball incident involving Boswell and Agudelo.

Steve Goff of the Washington Post, speaking to Bobby Boswell and D.C. United, is reporting that Boswell will be suspended for the home leg of United's Eastern Conference semifinal duel with the New York Red Bulls for an off-the-ball incident involving Juan Agudelo of the New England Revolution:

The incident in question took place in the 69th minute, as referee Mark Geiger suddenly stopped play to sprint 20 yards and dole out a yellow card for Boswell while Agudelo writhed in pain on the ground. There is no video of what happened currently available, but speaking to the media after the game Agudelo accused Boswell of a cheap shot:

"I don’t know why he would just do that, it’s disrespectful. I’m limping right now, he put his knee right in my hamstring and took me out of the game. I was limping when I was coming off – I wasn’t faking it. It was off the ball. I didn’t even expect it. I felt like I got shot. Cheap shot."

As to how the MLS Disciplinary Committee had evidence to make this decision when all eyes and cameras covering the game were likely 40+ yards away following the ball, Goff tweeted this out:

Buying it or not, at least we know this suspension has been given out based on video rather than circumstantial evidence. As our own Ryan Keefer dug up, there is an existing panoramic camera set-up at all MLS stadiums. Its primary job is to help coaches provide useful video to study in preparation for games, but in cases like this it appears to have other uses as well.

The suspension should not come as a surprise, as a collision that far away from the ball that ends with one player requiring a substitution is a collision that can easily be avoided. Given how the booking occurred - with Geiger spinning around to run in essentially the opposite direction of where he had been facing - it is likely that the official who spotted the foul was either the far-side assistant referee (who would have been a good 50+ yards away himself) or the 4th official at midfield. In either case, it's a bit puzzling that someone could see what Agudelo claims happened and not advise Geiger to go for a red card.

United will now face some extremely difficult circumstances as a result. Due to how this season's visits to Red Bull Arena have gone in terms of creating offense, it's safe to say that a single away goal for NYRB - already the highest-scoring team in MLS this season - would be hugely damaging for the Black-and-Red. Now they'll face Sunday's home leg at RFK Stadium without their team captain, chief defensive organizer, and their most experienced defender.

Kofi Opare will surely deputize for Boswell, with Steve Birnbaum moving into Boswell's normal right-center back berth and Opare playing left-center back. Ben Olsen's only other healthy option right now would be to drop Markus Halsti into central defense, move to a 4132, and start Michael Farfan or Nick DeLeon centrally ahead of a deep-lying Perry Kitchen. Olsen has been reluctant to use that formation this season, and in a game where United will be weakened defensively it seems highly unlikely. Instead, it seems safe to expect United to simply play their normal game and hope that Opare can deliver a big performance.

UPDATE: Via commenter Will Nelson, video of the incident below: