Skip to content

Zakuani, Ferreira and Morales: Never forget the Spring to Forget

Mar 29, 2012, 2:50 PM EDT

Toronto FC v Seattle Sounders FC Getty Images

I hope the pathos wasn’t lost on you. It actually hit me quite hard; hence, this post.

When Steve (in yesterday’s Power Rankings) reminded us that David Ferreira’s ankle is still “wonky,” it should have given everybody pause. Two years ago, this was the best player in the league. Last year, he was taken out by an inexcusably reckless tackle. Today, it’s possible his career will never be the same. After all, how many players deal with an injury’s lingering effects 12 months on yet bounce back to their former selves? Let alone a 32-year-old?

Ferreira’s not the only player having trouble. In fact, all three victims of last year’s Spring to Forget have yet to assume their former selves. Seattle Sounder Steve Zakuani hasn’t returned to the field after a Apr. 22 leg-break caused by a Brian Mullan challenge. Ferriera’s injury happened against the Whitecaps on Apr. 24, while Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales suffered his own ankle injury break/dislocation on May 7. At least Javi’s playing again.

As those stars were taken out, there were near-unanimous calls around MLS Soccer-dom for change – clean up a culture that too often forgives aggressiveness as ingenuity. That kind of aggression is more readily described as poor sportsmanship, even if that’s not the intent. Marginalizing the health of a peer because you are a hard working, hard charging kind of payer is unfathomably disrespectful. “That’s just the kind of guy I am” sounds inane compared to “well, that’s just the kind of leg/ankle he has.” MLS will be fine without that tackle. It’s far less fine without Zakuani and Ferreira.

At the time, it was unclear whether any lessons had been learned. After the huge flock of Sounders fans created a justified uproar over Mullan’s challenge, the Rapids midfielder got a 10-game ban. The backlash to Marco Mondaini breaking Morales’s ankle wasn’t as loud, and the suspension (4 games) wasn’t as long. Mondiani deserved a longer ban. That he failed to get one hinted Major League Soccer was struggling with the issue.

Now, it’s unclear whether we are ready to apply new standards, with the culture around MLS still implicitly forgiving the aggressive challenge, coloring it as gritty or gutty. This weekend in Kansas City, Sporting’s defenders were able to use excessive aggression as a way to slow down FC Dallas early, setting a tone for the rest of the match. It’s not a practice unique to Kansas City. In fact, few likely saw KC’s tact as out of the ordinary. Yet, they’re tactics that push the rules, may have precluded a tempo Dallas could have enforced, and evoke some of the uglier customs our culture’s inherited from English tradition.

And as all this was happening, Kansas City’s color man questioned Dallas’s players, claiming they were going down too easy. Fans in MLS Live’s Facebook stream echoed his sentiments. The people on Facebook and Twitter questioning why KC’s players were plowing into FCD’s? A shouted-down minority.

At some point, the challenge Matt Besler made to the back of Andrew Jacobson’s leg in Sunday’s second half will blow out a knee, and while we’ll wonder why another valuable player is being sidelined when it’s so easy to crackdown on grey-area aggression, we should really be questioning why we didn’t continue the call for change.

Latest Posts
  1. Confirmed: Neil Warnock takes over at Crystal Palace; what will he bring?

    Aug 27, 2014, 8:46 AM EDT

    warnock-4361-1879034_478x359

    Eagles swoop to hand former boss his second stint in charge at Selhurst Park.

  2. AC Milan want to sign Chelsea’s Fernando Torres. Should he leave?

    Aug 27, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    fernando_torres Getty Images

    Milan want Torres on season-long loan deal. Will the Spaniard move on?

  3. Report: Neil Warnock to be named new Crystal Palace manager

    Aug 27, 2014, 7:18 AM EDT

    Hull City v Sheffield United - FA Cup Semi-Final Getty Images

    Experienced lower league manager set for second stint in charge of Palace.

  4. CONCACAF Champions League Roundup: New York makes victorious debut

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:02 AM EDT

    concacaf champions league logo

    Red Bulls win their full tournament debut, while Club Améric takes a valuable point on the road.

  5. PST’s Major League Soccer Power Rankings – Whole New World Edition

    Aug 26, 2014, 10:14 PM EDT

    kyle_beckerman_fabian_castillo

    The rankings have had a big four — LA, RSL, Seattle, and Sporting. That group makes way for two new teams at the top of the PRs.

  6. Samuel Eto’o signs two-year deal with Everton

    Aug 26, 2014, 8:20 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 5.16.32 PM

    Three-time Champions League winner adds depth to Roberto Martínez’s attack.

  7. Van Gaal appeals to supporters’ belief after Manchester United’s League Cup loss

    Aug 26, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT

    louis_van_gaal AP

    United boss asks fans to withhold judgment on his team’s disappointing start.

  8. League Cup Roundup: Manchester United embarrassed by Milton Keynes, 4-0

    Aug 26, 2014, 6:04 PM EDT

    jonny_evans Getty Images

    Red Devils hit a new low, with three other Premier League clubs bowing out in the competition’s second round.

  9. UEFA Champions League Roundup: Zenit, Porto through; Celtic sunk by late Maribor goal

    Aug 26, 2014, 5:06 PM EDT

    hulk AP

    BATE Borisov and APOEL Nicosía are also into the group stage, with the five final spots to be decided tomorrow.

  10. Landon Donovan will get U.S. farewell, to be called up to face Ecuador

    Aug 26, 2014, 4:27 PM EDT

    One of Donovan;s finest moments came for the USA at the 2010 World Cup. His last minute goal sent the USMNT through to the last 16. Getty Images

    U.S. Soccer is doing right by its biggest icon. Donovan will be called up for the Oct. 10 game in Connecticut.

  11. PST’s Major League Soccer Player of the Week: New York’s Thierry Henry

    Aug 26, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT

    thierry_henry Getty Images

    For the second time in seven weeks, Thierry Henry takes home our weekly honor.

  12. The danger in Jermaine Jones to New England: perceived league chaos

    Aug 26, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Bv7WpAlIMAER8e9

    Why the Jones to New England move would’ve been a whole lot better with a little more transparency. Or a lot more transparency, if you like.

  13. Jermaine Jones unveiled in New England, quips that “I like to win”

    Aug 26, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    Bv_Aa5AIcAEBfhI

    New England got a whole lot better on Tuesday, and the Revs new Designated Player will immediately cause opposition problems in MLS.

  14. Official: Manchester United breaks transfer record, signs Di Maria

    Aug 26, 2014, 1:58 PM EDT

    Bv-8S8vCcAAWAVe

    Angel Di Maria has cost Manchester United a British transfer record of more than $98 million from Real Madrid.

  15. Fantasyland: Week Two leaders, three names to monitor

    Aug 26, 2014, 1:12 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    There’s still time to join up for a year of Fantasy Premier League fun via Yahoo’s free game, but don’t wait too much longer: the points are getting racked up!

  16. Arsenal, Man United sigh as Benatia heads to Bayern, Manolas to Roma

    Aug 26, 2014, 11:58 AM EDT

    International Champions Cup 2014 - AS Roma v FC Internazionale Milano Getty Images

    Both Kostas Manolas and Mehdi Benatia have been pegged for the Premier League all summer, but the former will head to Roma to take the Bayern-bound latter’s spot.

  17. UEFA Champions League playoff round preview: Oh, those second legs

    Aug 26, 2014, 11:27 AM EDT

    Arsene Wenger AP

    Tuesday and Wednesday bring 10 second legs for 20 clubs hopeful of the group stage windfall and another step toward glory.

  18. Real Madrid rolls out black kits for UEFA Champions League (Is that a dragon?)

    Aug 26, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

    https://twitter.com/realmadriden https://twitter.com/realmadriden

    Real Madrid goes to extremes, with only a touch of pink dotting their UEFA Champions League gear.

  19. Men in Blazers podcast: Spurs, Toffees and Chamakh’s brutal hair

    Aug 26, 2014, 10:21 AM EDT

    meninblazers

    The Men in Blazers are back for the second week of the Premier League, roaring through the league with breakneck speed and, dare-we-say, banter (not the Moody/Mackay type).

  20. Lampard joins Gerrard in int’l retirement; Who will man middle for England?

    Aug 26, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT

    England's Frank Lampard shoots at goal during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Moldova at Wembley Stadium in London Reuters

    Injuries to Adam Lallana and Ross Barkley further complicate things for Roy Hodgson with a looming Euro qualifier against Switzerland next month

Featured video

Balotelli will boost Suarez-less Liverpool