What Should Mondaini’s Punishment Be for Morales Tackle?
Another week, another MLS star goes down with broken bones. This time it was Javier Morales who is out for months after Marcos Mondaini made an aggressive challenge on the midfielder in front of the Chivas net. Morales cut back towards the goal from the wing and Mondaini, beaten on the play, went to ground and caught Morales’ lower leg in between his own, sending the RSL player down in pain. The referee initially brandished a yellow card, but upon closer inspection of the injury, issues a straight red and sent the Chivas forward off.
You can see the video here. Warning – the video shows the injury from multiple angles and in slow motion, in addition to in real time. The video is not for the faint of heart, and be warned it is very graphic.
At this point, MLS is still considering punishment for the tackle; Mondaini will certainly get a game for the red card. But how long should the punishment be, now that we have the precedent of the Brian Mullan suspension of ten games for his tackle on Steve Zakuani? There are arguments to be made that it should be shorter and longer than Mullan’s.
Mondaini’s punishment should be equal to or longer than ten games:
- The tackle was intentional. He was certainly beaten by Morales and right before the tackle looks to try and tug on the jersey to bring him down. Mullan’s was also an intentional tackle, due to the fact he had just lost the ball. MLS has to hand out lengthy suspensions to prevent beaten defenders from taking down quicker players if it is serious about preventing injuries.
- Maybe the video missed it, but Mondaini showed little remorse for the tackle. On the field he may have tried to check on on Morales but was seen on video just walking off after he was moved away my teammates. His apology after was bland.
- Going off the first point, this is the third major injury to a prominent player in two weeks. Don Garber spoke before the season about the importance of protecting star players; he needs to come down hard on this play to show he is very serious.
On the other hand, Mondaini deserves a more lenient punishment than Mullan:
- The injury was less severe than the Zakuani injury. Although his leg is pointing at a 45 degree angle, Morales only broke some bones in his ankle. Zakuani snapped two bones in his leg, a much more serious injury with a much longer recovery time.
- The tackle looks worse in retrospect than it did at the time. Referee Paul Ward initially gave a yellow on the injury. Even Jason Kreis said he did not see the tackle as malicious, according to ESPN: “To be honest, I didn’t think it was the most flagrant of fouls. It was from behind, which we’re trying to get out of the game. It’s in the attacking third, and Javi was clearly getting ready to shoot. I understand the urgency of the situation from the defender trying to make the play, and I really don’t think it was that egregious.”
- There was a similar situation that occurred recently in MLS, and it was the David Ferreira tackle. Ferreira broke his ankle on a tackle from behind by Jonathan Leathers; Leathers was not disciplined for the tackle.