MLS- Real Salt Lake

Morales Leg Break Mars Real Salt Lake Win

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 6.25.24 PM


With an injury unfortunately similar to Steve Zakuani's of the Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales suffered what looks to be a season-ending injury in RSL's match against Chivas USA.  After a nasty challenge from Marcos Mondaini, Morales immediately went to ground signaling for medical help.

The bad news marred a 1-0 Real Salt Lake victory over nine man Chivas at the Rio Tinto Stadium.  

Early in the match, Chivas defender Andrew Boyens was booked for bringing down Alvaro Saborio in what could have been a goal scoring opportunity in the 15th minute.  Salt Lake players immediately surrounded referee Paul Ward demanding red, but only a debatable yellow card was given.

Real would get its wish, however, as Boyen was carded for a second bookable offense only nine minutes later after throwing a shoulder into Saborio in an off-the-ball run.  

To be fair, the Royals didn't challenge Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy a great deal in the first half, and one of the better chances came in the 32nd minute when Kyle Beckerman latched onto a through ball behind the Chivas back line. But his whipped ball across goal was just behind Saborio, and Chivas could breathe again.  

The talking point of the half came five minutes later when Marcos Mondaini brought down Javier Morales from behind.  The tackle itself didn't appear to be malicious rather than just reckless and unfortunate. Mondaini will undoubtedly face a suspension, the question is simply for what length?

Chivas, then with nine men on the field, was able to hold a scoreless draw going into the half. 

After the break, RSL pressed forward searching for a goal to break the deadlock.  Saborio went close in the early minutes of the second half, and on 56 minutes Nat Borchers had a free header that he sent wide of Kennedy's right post.

Defender Chris Wingert also had an effort well saved by Kennedy, but Real could find no way past the Chivas keeper.

After spells of possession and probing runs, Real Salt Lake finally got their breakthrough late in the game in the form of Will Johnson on the 87th minute.

Johnson met the cross of Arturo Alvarez at the back post to give RSL the lead and eventually three points.

Still, the injury to Morales will make the headlines, and it is an unfortunate injury for the Argentine midfielder which could very likely end his season.

Supporters will be quick to cite the disciplinary actions taken against Brian Mullan of the Colorado Rapids as a reference for the suspension undoubtedly coming Mondaini's way.  


How many games do you think Marcos Mondaini should be suspended, if any?  Were Andrew Boyen's yellow cards warranted?  What does the Morales injury mean for RSL going forward?

  • Rev up those Revs

    The Don ought to take Marcos Mondaini out for a fishing trip at the lake.

    But seriously, we can’t have scrub nobodies breaking the legs of our leagues best players. Start penalizing the teams when this happens as well.


  • DomiNate

    Oh, MLS. So many issues. I can handle the poor quality on the pitch, poor decision making with the ball, the fact that everyone plays boom-ball, even the terrible officiating, but the one thing I can’t tolerate is dirty play.

    This has been a league standard for a while now. If anything, these injuries are overdue. It sends a terrible message to quality players considering a move here.

    Slogan for 2011- “Come to MLS! We’ll end your career sooner than you think!”

    If Seattle didn’t have a team I wouldn’t even pay attention.


  • fischy

    That ends that argument — just form the still, I’d say this was even more reckless than Mullan’s tackle on Zakuani.


  • fischy

    The carnage must stop. Zakuani, Ferreira, Boskovic and now Morales.

    Why would a talented player come to MLS so a hack can chop him down and take years off his career?

    I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say the future of the league is riding on this. MLS has to come down on this stuff like the wrath of G-d. Players must be severely punished, and their teams should face some additional penalty — may be docked points, draft picks, or face a hefty, hefty fine.


  • fischy

    Are you just joking?

    Or, are you seriously trying to distinguish between the ankle and the leg? Because a broken ankle sounds to me like a leg break. Though it’s at the ankle, it probably involves the fracture of one of the major leg bones either the tibia or the fibula, or both.


  • georg

    Suspensions and fines need to keep increasing until hacks like Mondaini begin to reaalise rash tacklss are just not part of MLS. Give this guy 14 games and a $15,000 dollar fine and other players may start paying attention.


  • RSL fan

    Mondaini gets beat by Javi, and he retaliates immediately by going through Javi’s ankle from the out to the inside with the ball a yard ahead of Morales. There was no intent to get the ball. The intent was to foul. When you intend to foul by deliberately kicking someones ankle and that action ends the kicked player’s season, there needs to be severe punishment.

    These types of senseless fouls have to stop. The foul on Zakuani was egregious. This foul is equally egregious for a different reason. The ban must be 10+ games. The reason it needs to be a 10+ ban is because Mondaini was on notice regarding punishment for terrible tackles. The next one, god hope, there isn’t should be even longer until these thugs and jokers aren’t ruining games and seasons.

    Ban Mondaini for the season.


  • fischy

    By legal standards, “recklessness” is intent. It’s taking a deliberate action that is clearly dangerous, with total reckless disregard as to the consequences.

    It’s not the actual intent to injure, but it’s almost splitting hairs which is why that level of recklessness is often punished quite severely.


  • UnionSean

    My goodness, that’s horrific! IMO, that’s worse than the Mullan/Zakuani incident as the challenge comes in from behind Morales.

    A terrible shame that three very talented and entertaining players are shelved due reckless and brainless tackles.


  • rory

    Mondaini should be suspended until Steve Zakuani is able to play games again (that’s the standard you guys want from now on, how long it takes Zakuani to heal, right?)


  • marco

    The MLS mindset is that the league is rough and tumble,
    a take no prisoners, clean sheets get you to the top, organization. You hear it from the clubs, the managers
    and the media. Garber needs to change it at the top not on the field.


  • UnionSean

    Let that type of tackle happen at PPL Park and grievously injure a Union player, and you will have a riot happen. Refs need to control that match and MLS needs to hit the thugs in the wallet. Once is an accident, twice is a trend, three times means the Don needs to get his head out of the sand.


  • charles

    +100 I’m really embarrassed of the MLS at the moment for this. Although I do think/hope the league is trying to address it.


  • chg

    It’s crazy to me that the NFL and basketball do more to protect premier players than “non-contact” soccer. If a player tackles through from behind, the player should be suspended without pay, regardless of whether or not the offensive player is injured. If it happens frequently enough, people will get the message.

    Look how many opportunities there are in every NBA or college basketball game to undercut a guy in the air, and how defenders go out of their way to avoid doing it.


  • Brent McD

    Just a week-and-a-half ago, MLS was jizzing over its feel-good moment of RSL playing for the CONCACAF championship (MLS 4 RSL, etc.) Morales is/was the best player on that team and a huge reason they got that far.

    Imagine if this incident had happened the week before the 2nd leg at Rio Tinto. Just saying


  • chg

    Other sports (including football) do a much better job of policing dirty play, officially AND unofficially.

    A couple years ago, after a DL took a cheap shot at the QB in a high level college game, the entire OL “blocked” that defender on the next snap. They blocked him into the ground, and the message was received.


  • Phillypride

    I can’t speak for RSL Fan, but I think Mondaini deserves a harsher punishment since he didn’t have any chance of getting the ball. It wasn’t even anything like a soccer play. He just threw himself into the back of Morales’s legs.


  • BSkillz

    Is anyone else completely disturbed by clips of these tackles being played over and over? There is absolutely no reason for them to replay these clips, especially during national broadcasts.


  • Magas

    Absolutely. (see my post above). It’s horrid
    and disturbing. It’s as if people are getting off on these gruesome images. Just a couple weeks ago MLS was in tears over Javi’s stunner in Monterrey. Today he is just another segment on the “world’s most shocking videos” or something.


  • Andrew

    I totally agree with this. There is no need to replay this stuff. Once is more than enough. Quite frankly, hearing about it is more than enough.


  • Matt

    I was at the game, they cut the feed to the big screen afterward, they knew it was bad and wouldn’t show it. MLS standards.


  • socnow

    Exactly. So typically Seattle. Didn’t pay attention until MLS came to town, but ask them and Seattle customers invented everything good about soccer fan culture.


  • Twentyyardsawayfromit

    I was also at the game, and the refereeing really needs to be looked at. This guy needs a suspension too. He had chances to control this game early…. i.e. Wingert on RSL probably could have been booked for a hard foul. Only gave a yellow for last man stopping a clear goal scoring opportunity.

    And the crem-de-la-crem. He initially only gave a yellow on this challenge only to change it to a red when he saw the reprecussions.

    This is the real problem that needs to be addressed.

    Followed by addressing it with the players in terms of “you fix this problem or you will not play in this league”. And since the league holds all contracts they could work that one out.

    Just my two cents.


  • socnow

    I don’t know about comparing this with Ferreira tackle. But Zakuani? Yeah, I think this is in a similar ballpark. Mullan like suspension.

    RSL has depth and will still have a good season. But I’m still gutted for Morales anyway.

    That said, a lot of you are talking like this never happens in other leagues.


  • Phil

    If he didn’t get a broken ankle…would anyone be having a problem with it? No, it would just be another play…I’m tired of hearing everyone whine and complain about all these tackles. I am not saying Mullan’s wasn’t malicous, but this one was just yellow card worthy, which is waht he got and it just happened to be his second. If the nakle wasn’t broken then we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it. I understand the leagues push on cleaning up play, but ot say this tackle deserves more than the typical red card suspension is just rediculous. It’s time to stop being so biased


  • Goobx1

    I’m tired too of these plays that should never happen ending players seasons. If Mondaini doesn’t retaliate for getting beat Javi doesn’t get his ankle broken. Yes these plays happen every game and most of the time nothing happens. No red card, especially if your name is Beckham, and no broken bones. The point is this needs to stop. Players making this decision and the Refs punishing those that continue.

    Maybe I am biased being an RSL fan but as a soccer fan I am disgusted that plays that never should have happened have ended the seasons of players that actually make the game exciting to watch.

    The whining and crying about how this is just a part of soccer and we need to shut up and enjoy the carnage I find offensive as a soccer fan.

    This play will continue. Seasons will continue to be ended because refs, like Ward yesterday, continue to not give red cards when warranted.


  • twentyyardsawayfromit

    First of all, it was not a second yellow (check any game summary). And if you want some really gruesome still photos check out deseretnews.com or sltrib.com both local papaers photographers got great shots of how bad of a two-footed tackle this was with one leg at the back of the knee and the other above the ankle. Not just some everyday run of the mill tackle. There is a reason the rule book mentions these type of tackles specifically in regard to straight red cards.


  • Matt

    Tackle from behind with no chance of getting the ball, that’s incredibly illegal ANYWHERE. WTF are you talking about?


  • ELAC

    He should be deported that Argie bastard!

    Oh, wait.

    Prayers go out to Morales and the lynch mob in Salt Lake City.


  • USAHammerFan

    i have a friend who works in the tv/replay booth at Rio Tinto. Their producer was yelling in their ears to immediately cut the picture so it wasn’t seen. I sit in seats right on the 18 on the side of the field this happened. Several people turned away until there were enough people around him so they couldn’t see. It was gross. Though, I have no problem with a few replays being shown. It does get overboard but really, if you don’t want to see it, when the replay starts turn away. After they show a couple replays and a couple angles they can stop and move on.


  • DomiNate

    You really should proof read things before you post them. Your comment makes no sense, not even on topic.

    I didn’t pay attention to what? Soccer? I attended three World Cups before Seattle had a team.

    Why did I go to those World Cups? Seattle has a soccer culture that I grew up in. Nothing was manufactured or invented, it’s been here since before I was born.

    The MLS has a serious problem on it’s hands. That is what you should focus on instead of taking a jab at Seattle.


  • Vince Clortho

    It was a takedown foul to make up for the fact that he was beaten…Poor choice. Deserves suspension…


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