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Russell Berrisford

Russell Berrisford

Russell’s support of Derby County eventually led him to leave the country. He has lived in Canada since 2007 and currently writes about soccer for The Vancouver Sun.


MLS – Another Trip To The ER

Written by on May 9, 2011 | 11 Comments »
Posted in MLS

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.

11 responses to “MLS – Another Trip To The ER”

  1. Al Harris says:

    If long suspensions are not supplemented by heavy fines for the CLUB, this thuggery will continue with the coach simply signing a new hacker…er… defensive midfielder. 3 weeks and 3 of the the outstanding, and rare as hen’s teeth, skilled attackers now taken out for the season. It’s the coaches who are sanctioning this kind of tackling; hit them with fines and suspensions too. Enough already! Messi’s life expectancy in MLS would be about a month. Disgusting.

  2. Russell Berrisford says:

    AL- maybe that will eventually have to happen. Or maybe a points penalty for repeat offenders?

    Ultimately though the players have to take responsibility for their actions and many seem slow in letting that lesson sink in.

  3. Soccerlogical says:

    AL – Mondaini is an attacking and creative player, not a “thug… hacker…er… defensive midfielder”.

    But I agree, the likes of Leathers and Mullan are perfect examples of defensive MLS players who lack adequate technique or skill in their defensive repertoire and probably feel the need to compensate with Smash-Mouth Gung-ho American Football or Hockey attitudes which are very prevalent in N. American sports.

  4. Bobby says:

    An attacking player incapable of tackling properly is just as dangerous – perhaps more so.

  5. alex nanez says:

    Crunching tackles are rare not the norm in the MLS. The lack of great pay for mls’ers the career guys & the poor pay to our rookies causes this. I think that it is just one of the problems with it. Example: Mullan is an attacking winger converted to a defending mid. I think the leagues tight purse strings will continue to hamper both the attraction/creation of both excellent skilled attackers AND talented defenders. Overall It is a job. Moving guys around to fill holes in your lineup intstead of paying and training guys to get the most out of the talent pool here in MLS I believe you’ll continue to see more instances like this around the league…. alex in houston, tx

  6. Russell Berrisford says:

    Alex- I think that’s a good point. Maybe no league in the world has a greater disparity between the quality of players on the field as MLS.

    Maybe that makes very badly timed tackles more likely.

  7. redfan says:

    If you ask a plumber to fix the electrics will you get a shower everytime you turn on the light? Rafa tried playing some of his squad in different slots and it never really ammounted to dangerous play, just rubbish play and a few frustrated players………perhaps that is where the odd bad challenge comes in.

    It appears there is a problem with the way mls is run compared to the European leagues and I personally think that one day the MLS will have to change but as the game grows in popularity here it is something that can eventually happen.

    Nice result at Craven Cottage tonight. Very solid performance and now onto the home game with ‘arry’s boys. ‘Arry was at the game tonight and I would love to have known what he thought of the Liverpool performance. If we beat Spurs we get Europa, if we draw then it will be down to the wire.

  8. soccerlogical says:

    Redfan – If I were either ‘Arry or Kenny at this juncture, I would start playing “hot potatoe” for Europa league so I could concentrate entirely on the league next season.

  9. Andy says:

    I have young children who play soccer and play it well. Yes, American football has problems with concussions but the next most dangerous sport likely to leave my children crippled or in pain for the majority of their lives is soccer.

    The permitted violence and serious injury inducing tackling that is allowed in soccer is not dissimilar to what goes on in hockey. Fighting is allowed because it’s “part of the game”.

    Butchering tackles in soccer are defended in the same way.

    If soccer is to grow in the U.S., and by that I mean that the best athletes continue to play it, then the governing bodies need to take care of two things:
    1) eliminate the kind of challenges where careers are ruined and joints destroyed
    2) use technology to allow post-game review and punishment of fouls. Divers and needlessly hard and dangerous fouls need to be severely punished and if that’s not done during the game, then it must be done afterwards.

    Americans don’t have enough people below the poverty line to support masses of kids playing a crippling sport. Soccer is a great sport and an incredibly healthy activity. But once my sons become teenagers where they’re at risk of some rogue tackler crippling them, I will pull them from the sport and encourage them to play basketball or lacrosse where there is no incentive to butcher them down.

    We live in a non-urban area and ALL the best kid athletes, i.e. 7 – 10 years old, play soccer and love it. As they get older, some leave for other sports that they may enjoy more. The remaining ones stay in the game for unknown reasons — they get no glory from their school communities and risk debilitating injuries.

  10. Russell Berrisford says:

    Andy- here in Canada I know that many parents prefer their kids to play soccer over hockey because it is perceived as a safer game.

    You are right that if this perception changes the repercussions for the future of the game could be quite substantial.

  11. Soccerlogical says:


    ” leave my children crippled or in pain for the majority of their lives is soccer.

    .. careers are ruined and joints destroyed

    .. use technology to allow post-game review and punishment of fouls.

    .. Americans don’t have enough people below the poverty line to support masses of kids playing a crippling sport.”

    Talk about reactionary hyperbole eh? Our dear precious children, what of the children?!


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