Utah Royals’ Lo’eau LaBonta suspended two games by NWSL

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Royals midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta trains at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Friday April 6, 2018.

Sandy • Utah Royals FC Lo’eau LaBonta has received a two-game suspension from the National Women’s Soccer League’s disciplinary committee.

LaBonta, who has started every game for the Royals this season, was found to have kicked the shin of an opposing Orlando Pride player in last Saturday’s 2-0 win. In the 53th minute, after Orlando’s Carson Pickett and LaBonta chased after a loose ball, LaBonta appears to kick Pickett on purpose. Pickett was attended to by a trainer and a stretcher was brought out for her, but she continued playing after briefly leaving the field.

The team appealed to the league in order to get the suspension reduced to only one game, but the appeal was denied.

Video of the exchange also appears to show Pickett raising her elbow near LaBonta’s face, and LaBonta’s head snapping back as though she was hit by Pickett. The Royals say Pickett’s elbow did connect with LaBonta.

There was no call made on the play.

Pride coach Marc Skinner alluded to the incident after the game, saying that LaBonta should have been ejected on the play and criticized the referee for not doing so.

LaBonta has scored one goal, which came in the season opener, on two shots on target this season.