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Reckless tackle leaves Zakuani with broken leg

Steve Zakuani (ISIPhotos.com)

Seattle Sounders star Steve Zakuani looks set to miss the rest of the 2011 season after suffering a horrific broken leg early in Friday's Colorado-Seattle match.

Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan broke Zakuani's leg when he raced in on a reckless challenge just seconds after being involved in a sequence where he felt he was fouled. Mullan raced in on Zakuani, who was dribbling down the sideline, and crashed into Zakuani's planted right leg, which was clearly broken by the challenge. Mullan was immediately issued a red card.

We'll update with an official diagnosis of the injury as soon as one is made available.

In case you missed it and want to see the challenge, you can see it after the jump (Be warned, the challenge is not for the squeemish):

 

 

Comments

  1. Wait, I take back the word thrown, he was pulled to the ground by the Seattle defender’s arm that was wrapped around him and he never recovered his footing, but he wasn’t actually thrown.

    Should have been a foul then, that is a problem with a league like the MLS that is known for “letting them play” and getting rough, people are going to see the red mist as it were.

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  2. To be fair, it wasn’t that he “couldn’t handle the challenge by the Seattle defender,” That wasn’t a challenge, that was him being thrown to the ground. I’m not saying it excuses him but still

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  3. I want to see a slow moe shot, I think Zak’s last touch, with his right foot on top of the ball changed that play, but I’d like to see how it happened in something like a close up in slow motion.

    Reading about it live on twitter, especially Ives and MLSinsider, it sounded like an infamous scissor tackle but that wasn’t the case.

    I guess mullan lost his mind and went in heavy, maybe to knock down a seattle player since he was just knocked down but I’m not sure.

    I guess he can spend the next few weeks polishing his 5 championship rings and letting his fans explain to everyone how he’s been a class player until now.

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  4. Feel bad for Zakuani, it seems like he is constanly being injured. Mullan acted purely out of rage, stupid! He should get more then a one game suspension.

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  5. Outside of the facts that it was a horrifically reckless tackle and resulted in a serious injury, the fact that it occurred during the 3rd minute is absolutely disgusting. Mullen has no reason to be arguing no-calls so early let alone being so upset you take out your frustration with the ref on your next slide tackle.

    If this is your playing mentality at the start of the game you shouldn’t be on the field!

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  6. aren’t we getting a bit off topic here? as a fan of neither team. if you are comparing NY to DCs fan base. at least by looking at game day attendance figures.

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  7. tackles like this [clear malicious intent] should require the player to be out for as long as the injured player is, and he should have to pay all of his medical expenses.

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  8. Of course, it’s fair to acknowledge that Mullan is being honest in saying he didn’t “intend” to injure ZAk. Unfortunately, it was a reckless challenge. Just because it’s the kind of challenge Mullan has made before — the kind of challenge you see in almost every game — doesn’t mean it wasn’t reckless.

    Under such circumstances as these, you take the risk of causing a terrible injury…and it is entirely appropriate to punish the challenge much more harshly just because someone was injured.I have spent years blasting MLS and especially the refs for the response to a far more hideous tackle from behind by Ugo Ihemelu that basically ended the MLS career of DCU’s Dominic Mediate. Ihemelu wasn’t even whistled for a foul as the ref played the advantage and didn’t even get a card after the play ended.

    MLS suspended Ihemelu for 2 games and fined him a measly $750. Meanwhile, Mediate never recovered from his badly broken leg and became a bartender. Didn’t seem like justice to me.

    This is an opportunity for MLS to do better..and to signal to international players that the League isn’t a wrestling match. MLS can announce that players will be severely punished for reckless conduct. The league can be physical without being dangerous. I don’t have a number in mind, but I’d say something more than the automatic 3 game suspension that comes in the EPL…and the fine should be significant, too.

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  9. Mullan should receive a multi-match ban. I’m thinking like 10 matches. That was a retaliatory strike for not receiving a foul call moments before. Perhaps Mullan is not a “dirty” player in general, but he clearly lost his mind completely in this moment. There is no number of hindsight apologies that can compensate.

    Zakuani is likely out for 6 months at a minimum and will likely never quite play the same again from this injury.

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  10. What a tool. It doesn’t take psychic powers to figure out Mullan’s intent. He was visibly angry over a non-call and took it out on the next Sounder to have the ball.

    You don’t follow this game much, do you?

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  11. Mullan deserves a long suspension, and hefty fine. That was a horrible tackle and no Zakuani will not play another game for a very long time. Hope Mullan knows this is what he will forever be remembered for now.

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  12. As a Rapids Fan I have to say that I am horrified by the tackle put in by Mullen. He deserves a multi-game ban. When you heard the snap you knew it was tib/fib.

    It is my hope that Mullen has apologized and that Zakuani has the quickest route to full recovery possible.

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  13. can someone kill this guy what a crapy thing to do to someone i wish the worst for him. He should watch his back if he plays in mls.

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  14. By law a reckless tackle is a yellow card. This tackle used excessive force, but “Excessive force tackle leaves Zakuani with broken leg” isn’t as sexy of a title.

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  15. None of them handled themselves properly, it was an embarrassing moment. There should be firings but I doubt there will be.

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  16. While you are right, it doesn’t help that Garber and others have a connection to the NFL. When your two primary influences are NFL and EPL, this is what you get.

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  17. Ives, Why was my comment removed? nowhere did I curse, attack anyone or use racial/inappropriate remarks. I simply questioned the integrity of the Rapids organization for posting an incomplete statement made by Brian Mullen after the match. They have since updated their page to include his video statement in it’s entirety, albeit the text quote within the article remains unchanged. This looks to me a deliberate attempt by the Colorado Rapids to protect themselves & Mullen from increased sanctions.

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  18. Ives – Thank you for calling this what it is, dirty. The FSC announcers with their repeated defense of Mullen & now the Rapids website running a story only half quoting Mullen is shameful.
    Rapids PR piece :
    http://www.coloradorapids.com/news/2011/04/tearful-mullan-laments-zakuanis-injury

    Actual statement : “I’m sorry for Steve. It was never my intention to injure him in the least. It’s a tackle that I’ve done hundreds of times and would probably do again. I had no intention of hurting him. It’s a freak, freak thing, and I apologize and wish Steve a speedy recovery.”

    Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer/#ixzz1KKbvCBVU

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  19. Brutal. MLS has to send a message. MLS is on a positive arc. Screwing this up will dirty the water of the league.

    I taped this game as a nuetral because MLS is gaining my attention. This tackled sickened me and I stopped watching. If this isn’t dealt with harshly, it will linger and leave a bad taste.

    I don’t care if Mullan was feeding orphans this afternoon or isnt that type of player. That act was 2nd degree not manslaughter intent. At least ten games and fine equaling 10 games of pay.

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  20. Mullan lies in his post-match comments:

    “I’m sorry for Steve. It was never my intention to injure him in the least. It’s a tackle that I’ve done hundreds of times and would probably do again. I had no intention of hurting him. It’s a freak, freak thing, and I apologize and wish Steve a speedy recovery.”

    If Mullan views the replay, he will remember that he felt he was fouled (it was trifling, therefore not whistled), went in hot-headed to retaliate against the opponent who happened to have the ball (an innocent Zakuani), and put his cleats with full force into that opponent’s planted leg, breaking both bones. Done it hundreds of times? If you had you would have been banned by now. Would probably do it again? Not if there is a God guiding the disciplinary committee.

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  21. Mullen made ZERO attempt to go for the ball. That was purely a malicious tackle through and through…and it ended as such. Awful, awful challenge. Should be handed the maximum penalty.

    From Philly, wishing Zakuani a speedy recovery. Mullen, you are one disgraceful bastard.

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  22. Oh OK Mike you know what Mullan’s intent was. Wow couldyou next tell me the winning power ball numbers cause you must have psychic powers…

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  23. I hope every MLS crowd reminds Mullan what a worthless piece he is for the rest of his career.

    I remember when AC Milan fans threw rotten fruit at Patrick Kluivert because he was such a bust of a signing. I think something like that should be standard practice anytime Mullan steps onto the field.

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  24. @cajun: It’s alright. I’m not too proud right now, just pissed. Both with the injury (Zakuani for Mullan is not a good trade for the league) and at idiots like Punjabi (put a bird on it, you 112 lb barista).

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  25. Ouch…Took my daughter to this game and we were running late. Got delayed at the ticket office and I am SO glad we didn’t see it. Brutal stuff.

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  26. Memo to Miami: Your city has the worst professional sports fans, so taking opinions from you is laughable on the subject of DC relocating.

    Additionally, the rats out number the supporters in the garbage can known as RFK garbage.

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  27. I was in shock watching this. Really horrible feeling thinking about Zakuani’s pain and loss here. Then I have to hear JPD talk about how hard it’s gonna be for Colorado to play a man down, and wondering how they are going to adjust tactics. Then they kept wondering what the extent of the injury was when it was so clearly broken. And the total lack of concern back in the studio. They didn’t give a f@&k. If a reserve player for the LA Galaxy stubbed his toe, FSC would go apesh@t. They showed absolutely zero concern here. And zero condemnation of Mullen’s malicious play. No class. Terrible.

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  28. Very hard making a call on the challenge from that video, anyone have a better angle? maybe a slow motion highlight? Looks like he goes in very high with his back leg but I cant see exactly what happens, his leading leg looks like it gets the ball.

    This looks a lot like the Nigel De Jong tackle on Ben Arfa, not malicious just reckless and hard, but I cant see clearly.

    Wish the best to Zakuani hope he recovers quickly!

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  29. Suspend him, fine him and then make him play reserve matches the rest of the season (that is, if I was running the Rapids).

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