FC Cincinnati defender Matt Miazga, the MLS Defender of the Year, will miss his team's Eastern Conference final against the Columbus Crew after being handed a three-game suspension by the league on Wednesday.

A league statement said MLS had imposed the sanction, along with an undisclosed fine, for "misconduct" after the November 4 playoff game against the New York Red Bulls.

The Athletic and The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Miazga entered the officials locker room at Red Bull Arena after his team's victory.

The MLS referees association, PSRA, while not naming Miazga or any other player, had said that "a player gained unauthorized entry into the officials' locker room" and had behaved "in an aggressive and hostile manner" before being removed by stadium security.

Miazga had received a yellow card in the game and a further one in the penalty shootout, meaning he missed Saturday's conference semi-final win over the Philadelphia Union.

Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan said last week that Miazga had not charged into the referee's room at the final whistle but entered well after the game was over.

"It's an hour and a half after the game. He has got a pizza box in his hand," Noonan said. "I think people have this notion that he was in his cleats, running into that room. It has been fabricated, what happened."

Several media reports cited sources denying Miazga had to be removed by security.

MLS said Miazga would "undergo a behavioral assessment through the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) Program and may petition for a reduction in suspension based on continued commitment and compliance with any recommended treatment programs."

The suspension would mean that Miazga would miss the MLS Cup final on December 9, should Cincinnati make it past the Crew to host either Los Angeles FC or Houston Dynamo in the championship game.

The remainder of Miazga's suspension, should it remain intact, will be served next season.

The 28-year-old American began his career with the Red Bulls before he was sold to Premier League club Chelsea, but spent the bulk of his time on loan at clubs in Europe.

He joined Cincinnati in 2022 and has been a key part of the club's rise this season, which saw Cincinnati earn the playoffs top seed after finishing with the best regular-season record.

Miazga has played 28 times for the US national team.