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RSL players call for suspension after Morales injured

Published May 7, 2011 6:28 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Kyle Beckerman thought the foul was so hard it caused Javier Morales to lose his shoe.

It was worse.

"His shoe was still on," Beckerman said. "His ankle was somewhere else."

A tackle by Chivas USA forward Marcos Mondaini in the 37th minute of RSL's 1-0 win Saturday sent Morales, a two-time All Star, sprawling and, shortly after, to the hospital, where it was determined he suffered two broken bones and a dislocated ankle.

The foul leaves a tremendous hole in the middle of Real Salt Lake's lineup for no fewer than the next four months, team officials said. The general sentiment was Mondaini's foul wasn't intentional. Still, RSL players called for a lengthy suspension of Mondaini.

Mondaini drew a straight red card, but he said through a translator that he wasn't trying to hurt Morales.

"I wish that he recovers promptly," Mondaini said. "I never have the intention of hurting a player, and I hope that he is playing on the field soon."

Mondaini, who was the second Chivas player to receive a red card Saturday, said he "wanted to block the play, the shot on goal."

The foul occurred in the 37th minute as Morales beat Mondaini outside the 18-yard box and, while trying to escape, Morales dribbled with his right foot. Mondaini dived and swept Morales' left leg.

"It was a clumsy challenge," said Robin Fraser, the Chivas coach and a former RSL assistant. "It certainly wasn't malicious."

Beckerman went into a frenzy after the play. Players and officials had to restrain him to keep him away from Mondaini.

Beckerman was among the players who said Mondaini should be suspended for several games.

RSL defender Nat Borchers agreed.

"I do think the league is going to have to crack down on these things. I think they've done a good job, so far," he said.

Morales was the third MLS star to suffer a broken ankle on similar plays. Brian Mullan of the Colorado Rapids was suspended for 10 games two weeks ago after a foul that injured Seattle's Steve Zakuani, while last season's MVP, David Ferreira of FC Dallas, broke his ankle when taken down from behind by Vancouver's Jonny Leathers.

"You snapped a guy's leg, you had zero chance of winning the ball," said Will Johnson, who, in the 87th minute, scored RSL's only goal. "Obviously, I don't think the guy meant to break the leg, and there wasn't malicious retaliation. ... But you've broken the leg of one of the best players in the league. Maybe that shouldn't matter. But for me, it does."