MLS- Seattle Sounders

Timbers' Paparatto receives one-match ban for dangerous elbow

PaparattoMartins TimbersSounders (USA Today Sports)

Photo by USA Today Sports Images


The MLS Disciplinary Committee announced Thursday that a one-game suspension has been doled out to Portland Timbers defender Norberto Paparatto for a 39th-minute elbow during last Sunday’s match against the Seattle Sounders. Paparatto also received an undisclosed fine.

The play came off of a Portland corner kick with the host Timbers trailing 2-0 at the time. Paparatto came flying in behind Chad Marshall, who was making a play to head the ball away, and delivered an elbow to the back of the Seattle defender’s head.

Referee Baldomero Toledo issued Paparatto a yellow card at the time, much to the displeasure of Sounders coach Sigi Schmid. Marshall, who stayed in the game, had previously suffered concussions in the 2007 and 2012 seasons during his tenure with the Columbus Crew.

Paparatto is scheduled to miss Saturday’s road game against the Vancouver Whitecaps. That match has serious implications on the final Western Conference playoff spot, as the Whitecaps currently sit in fifth place, two points ahead of the Timbers, with a game in hand.

Watch the foul for yourself here:


What do you think of the suspension? Did Paparatto get what was coming to him or was Toledo’s initial judgment the correct one? Will his absence have an impact on this weekend’s game?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Ian

    Deserved the suspension and fine. That was awful.

    I do enjoy watching Sigi blow his top. Sometimes it’s more entertaining than what’s happening on the field.


  • Wood Chip zip

    It was more to the neck Twaylor, not sure that’s ever causing a concussion but it’s still bad. I think the suspension is warranted but leaving it at a yellow would have also been fine. They are probably suspending him because MLS is making a point to crack down on fouling in the box on set plays. It is the best thing for Portland anyway because Paparatto is a not a good defender. This fewer games he plays for them the better


    • Neruda

      He’s being suspended because it was a violent flying elbow. It should be a suspension anywhere on the field. There is evidence emerging that simple headers contribute to Lou gherigs disease and concussions only speed up deterioration of the brain.

      MLS has to uphold the safety of its players and a win a public perception battle that it is a safer alternative to tackle football. This may not seem like a big deal now but don garber has to know that it just takes a few ailing stars to draw attention to a danger that already exists.


      • skyman

        I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment.

        Do you have any reference to research pointing towards ALS?


      • RAMONE

        +1 … Chronic traumatic encephalopathy maybe, but this summer of ALS awareness may have jumped the shark.

        The other thing to consider with CTE (unproven) is that many footballers who have developed the condition played with a very different ball than is used today. It remains to be seen whether those who play with modern more waterproof and lighter balls (since about the late 80s/early 90s) have the same issues as those who played with a leather ball which soaked up water and became more like a medicine ball by the middle of the match in wet conditions.


      • RAMONE

        I should add that ALS is a disease of both upper and lower motor neurons, so repeated brain trauma should only cause injury to half of that set (upper motor neurons originate in the brain and travel down the spinal cord, lower motor neurons start in the spinal cord near the level the nerve leaves it and go to the muscle) … and a whole lot of other non-motor neurons in the brain. I think that Neruda simply misspoke.


      • Skyman

        Good points as far as the older vs newer footballs are concerned. One thing to point out though is that the velocity is considerably higher now than it was 10-15+years ago, this there is more force being applied to the head with many headers


      • RAMONE

        True, f=m*a. But soccer balls do not gain acceleration for the most part after they have been struck (they generally have negative acceleration due to air resistance, though a long goal kick might gain a little due to gravity on its descent after it reaches maximum height).

        We are really talking about momentum (p = m*v) which is transferred to the head on impact and as a practical matter, really heavy water soaked balls are going to have much more momentum due to the mass part of the equation than can these balls really be “kicked harder”. Most headers come off of long clears (GKs, etc.) or crosses. Yes, it takes much more force from the kick to generate equal velocity if the ball is heavier, but for balls in the air, gravity also acts on them and makes the momentum much more.

        That said, I clearly remember playing with balls growing up (70s and 80s) which were enough to knock you over and there were players strong enough to get them in the air even as 9-12 year olds. Nobody really wanted to head them after one experience with a waterlogged ball that weighed 2-3 times what today’s balls do.


  • I'm sure you are a smart guy

    A dangerous elbow to the head gets one match ban……..two games if you are Armando for RBNY.
    Grab of the groin gets you a two match ban…if you are Olave from RBNY.

    Portland gets special treatment, yep I said it.


    • RAMONE

      While it would be nice if somehow the MLS DC was able to take these case by case, the fact is that they are not. This is the first time Paparatto has been suspended. If he keeps this up, they will get longer. Difficult to say that is true of your other examples.


  • Lindell

    And what about his elbow to Obafemi Martins after scoring goal 1 of 4 as pictured at the top of this article? That was ridiculous as well. Paparatto should have been sent off after his consistent infringement.


    • Dustin

      It’s a derby game, ever seen an El Classico? And no not the stupid one between Galaxy and Chivas.


      • Lindell

        I fully understand what a “derby game” is. I make it a point to watch every REAL El Classico, as well as attending every Seattle – Portland game that’s in Seattle. What’s your point? Fouls are still fouls, and cards should be shown in the same regard.


    • petedx

      I really hope you are not that dumb/a homer that you thought that was an “elbow” to martins on the goal. Both players were trying to stop after running full speed so they didn’t run into the goal netting. It is sad that something like this would need explaining.


  • Jay Buhner

    This is what the DC is there for … getting it right when the referee gets it wrong. I’m not really blaming Toledo for handing out a yellow … it’s probably better to not hand out a straight red unless you’re absolutely sure.

    My reaction at the time was straight red. Reminded me of a play last season where Blas Perez got sent off for decking Leo Gonzalez, also on a set piece.


  • Matt Ricker

    He’s such a bad player it is a welcome suspension. It’s a wonder he has actually played past his first few games he is so obviously bad. I saw it, he deserved it it was a bad foul. I hope that PTFC can find some better defenders, its been a 2-3 year process.


  • 2x

    Love the photo…Paparatto arrives late (again) throws elbows to head (again). Just a db player, want to see him try that s*** in 3 games vs Quakes, they’ll take care of him.


    • 2x

      On further review… I guess Paparatto is more of a baby giraffe on the first Martins goal. The picture is much worse than real-time. After leaping over Ricketts, momentum carries into Martins.


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