Taxi Fountas, accused of using racial slurs, is withdrawn from United loss

Taxi Fountas, accused of using racial slurs, is withdrawn from United loss

On a night when DC United conceded a stoppage-time winner in a 3-2 loss to Inter Miami at Audi Field, their belated meltdown was overshadowed by something far uglier.

After a second-half trade on Sunday between United forward Taxi Fountas and Miami defender Damion Lowe resulted in a lengthy delay, with both players receiving yellow cards and Fountas being quickly substituted, Miami coach Phil Neville has said the clash was over the use of a racial slur.

“A word was used that I think is unacceptable in society,” Neville said. “A word was used which I think is the worst word in the world.”

Miami defender DeAndre Yedlin said Lowe was walking away after a fight with Fountas when “the guy called him the n-word” and teammate Aime Mabika reacted angrily. Lowe and Mabika are black. Yedlin said Miami decided “not to continue until something is done with this player.”

Fountas, who scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season moments before, was not made available for comment as part of an investigation by the club, MLS and United Nations. professional referees, a club spokesman said. Referee Ismail Elfath told a reporter at the pool that no official had heard racist or abusive language and none had been detected via video review.

“The referee came and spoke to me and Phil and there was a complaint which I’m sure will be investigated,” said the United manager. , Wayne Rooney. “So I can’t say anything more.”

In a statement, United said: “DC United is aware of the allegations involving a player during the game against Inter Miami CF. The club will work closely with Major League Soccer and Inter Miami to investigate the incident. incident.

“MLS has zero tolerance for abusive and offensive language and we take these allegations very seriously,” the league said in a statement. “An investigation into this matter will begin shortly.”

Spirit defeats Gotham FC, their playoff hopes dashed shortly after

Six weeks after United made Christian Benteke the most expensive player in club history, Rooney finally had the chance to roll out his summer signing alongside Fountas, the club’s only star who had missed out on the first four Benteke matches due to a concussion.

Indeed, Benteke and Fountas found the net on Sunday. But Miami got a pair of goals from Leonardo Campana and, after Fountas’ exit, a stoppage-time winner from Gonzalo Higuaín.

For a bottom-ranked DC team (7-19-6) that had failed to score in eight of its last 10 games, the offensive burst was a welcome one. Fountas’ return, however, was marred by the allegation, as was the crucial win for a Miami side amid a playoff push.

“It’s been a really good time for us, a bit dark,” said Yedlin, a member of MLS’s Black Players for Change group. “It’s something I’ve talked about openly all my career, so it’s really unfortunate to see it live.”

Benteke opened his DC goalscoring account in the 22nd minute. United midfielder Chris Durkin curled a pinpoint serve into the box which the Belgium striker stabbed at the far post.

Miami (12-13-6) equalized in the 39th on Campana’s scrappy finish on a rush on goal, then took the lead in the 53rd as the Ecuadorian striker finished again from close range.

Fountas equalized United four minutes later. Miami cleared a free-kick from DC to the top of the box, where the Greek striker delivered a single volley that took a good deflection as it entered.

But the ensuing delay, in which Elfath stopped to meet Rooney and Neville on several occasions, and Fountas’ 66th-minute substitution halted any momentum for United’s equaliser.

“We were trying to put the pressure on,” Benteke said. “With that break, it just slowed the game down.”

Both teams pushed for a winner before Miami broke through on a counterattack in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Indiana Vassilev hit a wide pass to Yedlin, whose low cross was headed in by Higuaín.

“It doesn’t even look like a win,” Yedlin said. “Now let’s see what MLS does about [the accusation]. My eyes will be on it a lot. Now it’s up to them to take action and take a stand and show that not only does this have no place in the game, but it doesn’t belong in society.

Here’s what else to know about DC United’s loss:

FIFA keeps Ecuador in World Cup squad, denying rivals’ claims

Former England teammates meet

The match was the first meeting between Rooney and Neville since Rooney took over as United manager in July. They were teammates at Manchester United in 2004-05 and with the England national team from 2003 to 2007.

Neville praised Rooney for his decision to remove Fountas from the game.

“I have to give Wayne Rooney huge respect for handling the situation the way he did,” Neville said. “I’ve always known him as a class actor. I think today he went up in my estimation more than he ever did, more than any goal he’s ever scored.

The international truce is looming

United are out next weekend as most of MLS pause for the final international window ahead of the World Cup in Qatar as national teams refine their tactics and get one last look at players before submitting their lists . DC visits CF Montreal on October 1 before hosting FC Cincinnati on October 9 to close out the season.

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