The 10-game suspension of RB New York's Jon Conway and Jeff Parke last week for violating Major League Soccer's Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Policy raises a major question for the team over the offseason, writes Frank Giase. Simply put: will the team cut the two from its roster?
Neither player's absence was felt during Saturday's 3-1 win over the Columbus Crew, but if New York still fails to make the playoffs, both would miss the first eight games of next season. "That's more than a quarter of the 30-game schedule," notes Giase. "And considering the suspension prevents them from practicing with the team -- they will miss the entire preseason -- it could be midway through the campaign before they are ready to contribute."
Parke will be out of contract at the end of the season, but Conway signed a new deal with the team before the start of the current season. Their coach Juan Carlos Osorio will have to plan on replacing them for that long opening stretch, "and if all is going well, there's no way" Osorio would disrupt the lineup. Also worth considering is that Conway's $115,000 salary will count against the salary cap "and the team will not receive a roster exemption, meaning they will be a player short until he returns." Parke's spot, though, could be filled and that replacement player cut if the defender returns.
"But," asks Giase, "for a franchise that has a history of change, distraction and failure, does it really need this hanging over its head next season?"