The NWSL Disciplinary Committee announced today that Seattle Reign FC right back Merritt Mathias has been suspended the next three league matches for an incident that occurred in the 68th minute in the Reign’s 2-2 draw with the Portland Thorns last Saturday.
Mathias was also fined an undisclosed amount for “violent conduct that was determined to be a major game misconduct.” She will miss this weekend’s game against the Washington Spirit, the Orlando Pride game on May 21 and the game against the Houston Dash on May 27.
Take a look at the incident between Emily Sonnett and Mathias below and see why she was fined and suspended.
#NWSL disciplinary committee suspends Merrit Mathias 3 games for violent conduct against Emily Sonnett, aka this hair pull pic.twitter.com/JhHoOEWd8t— thrace (@thrace) May 11, 2017
The week before against the Boston Breakers, Mathias was seen pulling the hair of Alyssa Chapman and came away with just a yellow card and no suspension from the league. Considering this has happened in two straight games, Mathias is likely getting a longer punishment for consistent violent play.
Mathias has been a favorite of Laura Harvey because of her tenacity on defense and her desire to put quick pressure on the ball. That strategy paid off against Portland and forced the Thorns defense into a number of poorly played balls and mistakes.
However, this is not the first time that Mathias has been suspended by the league for “major game misconduct.” Last season against FC Kansas City, Mathias was involved in an incident with Shea Groom. Originally, the league stated that there would be no suspension but re-opened the case after “new evidence” emerged.
Here is a video of that incident.
If you can't see the video that @TheDanLauletta tweeted, hopefully this works pic.twitter.com/YbeufWrk99— Courtney Andros (@Courtstar413) July 1, 2016
With Mathias out for the next three games, Rebekah Stott will more than likely slot into the right back spot, but your never know what rabbit Laura Harvey will pull out of her hat come gametime.