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Vanney on MLS suspending Sebastian Lletget: ‘We respect their decision’

LA Galaxy coach on that topic and other availability for Sunday’s game.

MLS: LA Galaxy at Inter Miami CF Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It came a week later than expected but LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget was suspended by MLS, for two games, and fined after using a homophobic slur on his social media recently.

Lletget played in LA’s 3-2 win over Inter Miami on Sunday, but the player had previously said publicly he would take any sanction the league handed down and tearfully apologized for his conduct. In addition to the suspension and fine, Lletget will be required to attend diversity, equity and inclusion training through Athlete Ally.

In talking to reporters Friday after the suspension was announced, Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said the process of learning about Lletget’s suspension took place over several days.

“It’s been an ongoing discussion for some time, I would say, a week or so. In terms of when did we find out that he was actually going to be suspended? Maybe yesterday or the day before,” Vanney said. “There was a lot of discussion on the topic, obviously it’s a sensitive topic so there’s a lot of discussion and a lot of thought that went through from the league perspective and at the end of the day they’ve made their decision. We respect their decision at this point.”

Vanney said there had been discussions in the club to potentially appeal the suspension, but it sounded as though the club decided not to formally appeal in the end.

As for who will slot into the lineup in Lletget’s place for the next two games, including Sunday’s home opener against the New York Red Bulls, Vanney was cagey and said he will probably use different players depending on the opponent.

It’s possible Ethan Zubak could start up top alongside Chicharito, and the Galaxy could move Victor Vazquez out wide, Samuel Grandsir on the other flank, and Jonathan dos Santos and Adam Saldaña or Carlos Harvey out in the middle as defensive midfielders. If Vanney goes with the same formation as the start of the Miami game, it could also be Cameron Dunbar, Jonathan Perez or Efrain Alvarez. Kevin Cabral is expected to arrive in the United States next week, said Vanney.

As far as injuries, only one player is on the report, defender Derrick Williams, and he’s officially questionable. Vanney said it’s possible he could play.

“Everyone who has been available will be available, the only one to be determined still is Derrick for tomorrow. He trained today, we’ll see how he responds tomorrow, it’ll be close, we’ll see. It’s a risk/reward call at this point,” said Vanney.

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