WPS faces first controversy with Wambach-Daniela tackle

WPS faces first controversy with Wambach-Daniela tackle

Women's Professional Soccer

WPS faces first controversy with Wambach-Daniela tackle

WambachDaniela (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                         Photo by ISIphotos.com

 

By CHRISTA MANN

For a league that is just over six weeks into its inaugural season, Womens Professional Soccer now faces its first big controversy.

After a slide tackle by The Washington Freedom's Abby Wambach injured Daniela of the St. Louis Athletica, news that the Brazilian native suffered a crack in her tibia and damaged two knee ligaments, and is likely out for the season, is drawing a lot attention.

With both clubs trying to decide how much information to share or how much access they want to grant to the media, all parties erred on the side of caution.

Below are highlights from the game for another look at the injury

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In response to many of your comments and to the information that was released on Tuesday, here are my thoughts on the incident:

In a game that was becoming extremely physical, each team had its fair share of hard tackles and questionable plays.  Do I think it was a terrible foul?  Yes, of course!  Do I think that there should have been more control over the game especially with two physical teams and very wet conditions?  Absolutely.

As for the specific incident in question, Daniela's first touch got away from her and Wambach made a poor decision to slide tackle the way she did.

It is likely that Wambach may have meant for it to be an enforcing tackle; however, there is definitely a line between sending a message and injuring an opponent. Certainly her intent was to go in hard, but it's doubtful that she would have ever meant to severely injure the Brazilian attacker or any other player for that matter. 

Following the weekend, neither team thought that it would be a good idea to speak out on it right away.  If the league could have somehow set up some type of press conference (even if had to be web streamed), Commisioner Tonya Antonucci, the St. Louis Athletica, and the Washington Freedom would have all had an opportunity to addressed the situation properly and more effectively. 

Without a comment from the commissioner, fans have no idea how she feels about the whole situation.  Not that she needs to make an amazing statement or explanation, but I think that everyone would appreciate some acknowledgment of the event along with a brief explanation as to why there will or won't be any repercussions.

It's not so much that anyone has make this a huge ordeal, but a statement from the highest official would more or less just to ease some of the tension.

Personally, I am opposed to suspending any players because that type of play occurred throughout the entire game. Had there not already been some serious physical contact, my thoughts may be different.

I believe that this unfortunate situation serves as a lesson learned.  Intensity is a vital part of the game and it is not going away. There just simply needs to be a boundary placed between playing hard and playing recklessly. With  some key examples of both displayed in this game, officials and the WPS should set the boundaries and abide by them without fail.  I'm not calling for any rule changes, just saying that there needs to be a little more awareness and control over the game.

There have not been any other problems across the league with teams getting out of hand, so maybe this is simply a one-time situation that serves as an example.

For now, St. Louis has posted a write-up of the injury and Washington has only allowed Wambach to put together a statement.  Both sides played it very safe and prefer not to comment any further or in any greater detail.

This is what Wambach had to say:

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"In regards to the injury Daniela sustained during our game, the thing I need to convey most is how hard it is for a player who has sustained a significant injury in the past year to now be on the other side of it,” Wambach said. “It’s been crucial for me to find out exactly what injuries Daniela has sustained because of how important I know she is to the Saint Louis franchise. I’ve been in contact with a close friend on the team to stay updated. Unfortunately soccer is a physical game and players do get injured. There was no intent on my side to cause any harm. I wish Daniela nothing but the speediest of recoveries. My thoughts and prayers are with her.”

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As the U.S. national team player remembers her own injury (a broken leg before last summer's Olympics) and shows her compassion, the only thing that stands out is the fact that there is no official apology.  We can only believe that she has offered the "I'm sorry" many, many times already but why not do it officially? 

As for how the St. Louis Athletica will cope, Head Coach Jorge Barcellos said, “It is a great loss to the team who were getting accustomed to playing with Daniela.  We are going to have to restructure how our team is set up and our whole team will have to step up.”

After some controversy stirred things up in the WPS, how do you feel the league handled it? Who will replace Daniela's void for St. Louis?  Has there been any other physical play amongst other teams that stands out to you? 

Share your thoughts below.

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