After forging a breakout season and with Minnesota United in a key push for the playoffs, forward Mason Toye will miss at least Wednesday’s game against the Colorado Rapids after he spit on an opposing player and drew a red card, ousting him from a match Saturday night.
Toye, 20, was ejected from a 5-3 loss to FC Dallas for spitting on Reggie Cannon in stoppage time.
A decision by Major League Soccer on whether he must sit out more games is pending.
United coach Adrian Heath pointed out a 2015 incident with Philadelphia Union’s Cristian Maidina as potential precedent. Maidina spat on a player and was suspended for two games.
Toye, who was selected seventh overall in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, took to Instagram to issue an apology. In it, he said he didn’t intentionally spit at Cannon but would face the consequences of his actions.
“I want to apologize to MNUFC, our fans, the MLS, and most importantly Reggie Cannon and FC Dallas,” Toye posted on Sunday. “My actions last night were distasteful and inexcusable, and there is no place for it in the game of soccer.
“Although it may not look like it, I had no intention of spitting on any player. However, I did spit and it did hit a player and because of that I will have to face the repercussions. It was a really stupid mistake and one that I will most definitely learn from. Again, I am extremely sorry for my actions and hope for your forgiveness.”
After the game, Heath said he and his club “won’t condone that type of behavior.” On Monday, the coach added the team spoke with the second-year forward about the incident.
“We’ve had a long chat about it,” Heath said. “It’s something that he regrets, it’s not in his nature. … When you’re 20, you make mistakes. I know I certainly did.”
Immediately after Toye spat on Cannon, teammates appeared angry at him. Darwin Quintero slapped Toye on the arm and shouted at him. Lawrence Olum also approached him to speak to him.
“Obviously, he did what he did,” defender Michael Boxall said. “It is tough in those environments at that age. You’ve got experienced players on the other team who are trying to get under your skin. The thing he can do is learn from it and accept whatever punishment comes his way.”
Toye was in the lineup often over the past several weeks. He has scored four MLS goals in nine games, along with two U.S. Open Cup game-winning goals.
An important point Boxall and Heath pointed out is that Toye won’t be available for selection while the Loons are in the middle of a playoff push. He was at training Monday in Blaine.
“It’s costing him, it’s costing us, it’s costing the supporters,” Heath said. “Everybody’s going to feel the disappointment of his actions. We just hope it’s not too severe.”
Cannon, in a statement after the game, said Toye “loogied-up and spit on me,” which led to him taking off his shirt to wipe it off. Cannon called it “one of the most disrespectful things you can do to a human being.”
“As for Mason Toye, I know that your attitude gets the best of you sometimes,” Cannon said. “Phenomenal player and I have the most respect for him, but you don’t do that to someone. It’s disrespectful and it’s not OK. There’s no room for it in the game.”