Another weekend of MLS action and another weekend where much of the focus is centred on an injury to one of the Leagues most creative players. This time it was Javier Morales of Real Salt Lake who was the victim of a tackle from behind by Chivas USA’s Marcos Mondaini.
Scroll back to when Seattle’s Steve Zakuani was injured and the quotes pretty much write themselves “I never have an intention of hurting any one.” said Mondaini after the game, and he probably means it.
The problem is that the tackle was made in such a way that the risk of injuring his opponent was incredibly high. This was different from Mullan’s tackle on Zakuani in that it wasn’t brute force that caused the damage but the angle of the challenge (directly from behind) which made it clear that Mondaini’s sole intention was to bring down the man.
MLS now has to decide what the punishment will be and whether it will match Mullan’s ten game ban. The authorities must also wonder what kind of retribution it will take to actually act as the deterrent to the kind of challenge that so frequently prevents some of the best players from taking the field
In the game itself Chivas were already down to ten men when Mondaini was red carded, and they eventually conceded a late goal to lose the tie 1-0. Some small comfort perhaps for the Salt Lake side.
Elsewhere Portland continued their impressive home form with a 1-0 win against an obdurate Philadelphia defence with Mamadou Danso scoring the winner from a Jack Jewsbury free kick.
Portland’s set pieces have been of a high quality all season and have already earned them a number of points. Other teams should perhaps take note of how important these can be in a League that is so tightly bunched.
Toronto FC also got a much-needed three points against a Houston side that seems to have hit a roadblock in their own progress. The Canadians got a goal early in the second half from a Joao Plata penalty and then looked to have wrapped the game up ten minutes from time through Maicon Santos.
It is perhaps typical of Toronto though that they had to suffer a nervous ending by allowing Lovel Palmer to pull one back in the 87th minute but they managed to hang on for their first win in over a month.
In the other games it was ties all the way, with Vancouver earning their first point on the road with a 0-0 in Chicago, and the Seattle Sounders will probably be content with a 1-1 result at Columbus.
A low scoring weekend was rounded off by two more 0-0 results in DC and New England, where Dallas and Colorado were the respective visitors.
The standings the Eastern Conference are so close that any side picking up three points can suddenly find themselves in the race for the top three, but in the West there are signs that the three teams at the bottom; Chivas, Vancouver and San Jose could become detached from the pack if they don’t start picking up wins soon.
Maybe next week we will all be studying League tables and results and not x-rays and medical reports.
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