Marcos Mondaini: Extended Suspension Or Not?

Posted In Features - By Steven Streff On Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 With 1 Comment

With the recent suspension of Brian Mullan for his tackle on Steve Zakuani, Major League Soccer has opened a can of worms in which every tackle that results in an injury must be scrutinized. Fairly or not, that is the climate that players now play in, after Mullan was slapped with an additional nine game suspension for his reckless challenge on Zakuani last month. The onus on the league is to examine the severity of the tackle itself, and not just the resulting injury that might come from the tackle.

And after the Mullan suspension, the league is faced with another dilemma of whether or not to extend a suspension for a tackle. In the game between Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA last weekend, RSL talisman Javier Morales had to be stretchered off the field after a tackle from behind by Marcos Mondaini. The result was that Mondaini received a straight red card, while Morales broke his ankle and will likely be out until October.

The league may have answered the question of whether or not they use the resulting injuries in determining a suspension. The same weekend that Zakuani’s season was ended, Vancouver’s Jonathan Leathers broke David Ferreira’s ankle with a tackle that will see Ferreira miss an extended period of time. However, it was not a rash tackle, it was not a reckless tackle, and the tackle did not come from behind Ferreira. A foul was correctly called, but Leathers did not even receive a yellow card, and the league decided not to suspend Leathers.

Theirs is a significant difference between Leathers’ tackle and the one from Mondaini, though that should stand out. Leathers had a slight chance of winning the ball, which is why he has not been suspended for his actions. Mondaini on the other hand, had zero chance of winning the ball, as Morales had already cut inside of him, heading towards the Chivas box. Mondaini’s tackle represents a player trying to prevent a goal by any means possible. It’s akin to knocking a player off the ball near midfield to prevent a counter attack, and picking up a yellow card. In that case however, there isn’t a real danger of injuring a player. Mondaini probably didn’t go in with the intent to injure, but there was really only one outcome once he dove in.

Because of this, MLS would be best served by suspending Mondaini for four additional games, bringing the total amount of games he would miss to five. It’s rather simple – if the league is looking to protect players from injuries, then punishments must be handed out when tackles are made that could easily injure a player. Had Morales come away from the tackle still being able to play, Mondaini should still receive that same punishment. Mondaini’s tackle lacked the complete recklessness of Mullan’s, but the Chivas man still went into a situation where he endangered a player’s health, and that is what the league should be focused on. A five game suspension would serve notice to players in the league that it doesn’t take a tackle as egregious as Mullan’s to face an additional ban.

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  1. chad says:

    4 games? do you work in chivas’ front office?

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