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The Philadelphia Union will not have the services of star left back Kai Wagner for Wednesday’s trip to Foxborough, or the additional two matches after that.
MLS announced Tuesday it has suspended Wagner for three matches for violating its on-field anti-discrimination policy, the league announced. Wagner was investigated by the league after allegedly using a racial slur during November 28th’s 3-1 win over the Revs at Subaru Park.
Union head coach Jim Curtin originally confirmed earlier on Tuesday that Wagner would not travel with the team for their second playoff match of the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Revs striker Bobby Wood was the target of the alleged abuse. Wood, who is of Japanese and African American descent, speaks German after spending majority of his pro career in the European country.
Wagner joined the Union from German club Wurzburger Kickers in 2019.
A two-time MLS All-Star, Wagner has been one of the league’s top left backs during his time in the league. He has contributed five goals and 41 assists for the Union in 147 combined league appearances, lifting a Supporters’ Shield in 2020.
He also was a Defender of the Year finalist in 2022 as the Union reached their first-ever MLS Cup.
Wagner’s absence will force Curtin to make a change at left back. Matt Real is a likely candidate while Nathan Harriel could also shift from right back to left back if needed.
Should Curtin shift Harriel to left back, Olivier Mbaizo is an option at right back.
The Union would face FC Cincinnati in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, should they advance past the Revs. If needed, a Game 3 is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 12 at Subaru Park (3 p.m ET)