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How long should Kaku’s suspension be?


The New York Red Bulls are going to be without Kaku for an extended period of time.

But how long the midfielder’s suspension for a firing a ball into the stands and hitting a fan will be remains to be seen.

No one is defending the actions of the midfielder, who didn’t exactly help his case with the body language he displayed while walking off the field at Children’s Mercy Park in second-half stoppage time.

Now the decision comes down to the MLS Disciplinary Committee to figure out how long Kaku should be banned.

Based off the suspensions we’ve seen in past years for less significant infractions, the bare minimum suspension for the Paraguay international will be three games.

It’s hard to find a precedent for how long Kaku’s suspension will be because this is a rare situation.

In 2017, Tim Howard received a three-game suspension for his altercation with a Sporting KC fan after a game.

If Howard got three games for a verbal spat, Kaku should get at least one or two more games because he struck the fan with a ball from the field.

The longest bans in MLS history were handed out to Brian Mullan for his leg-breaking tackle on Steve Zakuani and Ricardo Clark for his kick out on Carlos Ruiz.

Mullan was hit with a 10-game ban in 2011 and Clark received a nine-game ban in 2009 for their actions on the field.

Those two suspensions were handed out for on-field actions. Kaku’s situation is different than any of those mentioned above because he struck a fan with a ball.

Five games seems like the minimum the league office can hand out because too small of a suspension opens MLS up to a rash of criticism that it doesn’t protect its own fans at its games.

Because the incident looked so violent when it occurred, you could argue Kaku deserves close to a double-digit game suspension.

If you think the MLS Disciplinary Committee should make a statement from the incident, Kaku could be banned for the rest of the regular season, but that seems like the most extreme possibility.

In all reality, Kaku should get somewhere between five and 10 games.

The midfielder can’t receive the same number of games as Howard because they are two different situations in terms of the interactions with fans.

From the Red Bulls perspective, they will be without one of their best players for a stretch in which they need to pick up points.

The Red Bulls have five points from six games, but if there is one thing they are good at, it is filling absences in the starting XI with a player component of performing in the specific role in the club’s system.

After a road trip to New England on Saturday, the Red Bulls have a three-game home stand they have to take advantage with games against FC Cincinnati, LA Galaxy and Montreal.

If Kaku is suspended for more than three games, the Red Bulls will have to do some juggling with their squad with a busy May schedule in front of them.

Chris Armas’ men have six games on the schedule in May, and depending on how long the suspension will be, they might not have Kaku for most of that stretch.

Not only was the incident inexcusable from a player’s perspective, Kaku put an already-struggling team into a deeper hole that it is going to have to climb out of without him.


  1. I don’t get the part about not doing himself any favors with his body language. It was a disgraceful lapse in judgement no question, I don’t think he meant the ball to go over the board, but that’s a good example of why you need to keep yourself in check, people don’t mean to have a lot of horrible outcomes happen in life but put themselves in bad positions for it to happen. That said I thought his body language was of the I’m truly sorry variety, I actually thought looking apologetic and motioning he’s sorry from his heart does help his case, not the opposite

    • there are actually two video clips floating around of him post-red card; one right after the red card where he’s shrugging and making an “everyone’s overreacting” expression, and another of him acting apologetic while walking off the field. joe should’ve specified which one he was referring to, since the other article on this site embeds the “apologetic” one.

      as regards the suspension, i think it should be minimal (and i’m a dcu fan). i didn’t notice any previous interaction between him and the fans, so it seems evident that he meant to hit the boards and missed, a la messi at real madrid. however, mls has to worry about their image and “protecting the fans”, so i can see him getting 7-8 games.

      • Ahhhhh thank you, that makes more sense. And I agree it was a dumb mistake, but also agree I think it should be 5 anyhow. Can’t have a players emotions endanger fans, frustration happens (I play recreational coed indoor soccer where you win a tee shirt if you win the league, it’s amazing how much frustration happens lol) but you have to be smarter than that. Kinda like if an NBA player was upset and went to slam the ball of the stanchion but missed and gunned it off a fans face, it’d be a pretty big deal. Intent probably no, stupidity yes

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