Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Only one extra game for Rojas is a bad joke
by Ridge Mahoney, May 22nd, 2009 6:30PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

I'm disappointed that MLS has tacked on just one match to the automatic suspension meted out to Red Bulls midfielder Jorge Rojas for deliberately slamming his elbow into Brian Mullan's face in a league match last week.

The same week, U.S. forward Charlie Davies received a five-game suspension for bludgeoning an opponent during a Swedish league game while vying for a ball in the air. MLS need not follow the examples of other leagues in making its disciplinary decisions, yet the Rojas decision is far too lenient, mainly because he already had control of the ball at his feet and Mullan was challenging for it legally.

In no other sport is contact between the head and the ball an integral facet of play. A ball bouncing off a player's head can be comical, as in basketball or football, or potentially lethal, as in batter struck by a fastball, or in the case of hockey, players struck by pucks. Heads banging together are akin to a pair of bowling balls bumping together, and damage to the skull, neck, and facial features can be extensive.

Players going for high balls lead with their forearms all the time, and until FIFA adopts a rule similar to that in hockey - by which a stick raised above the shoulders in the vicinity of an opponent is a penalty whether or not contact is made - players will be cut, concussed and otherwise injured while battling for the ball, and referees will have to make very hard decisions about whether the contact warrants a red card, yellow card, a warning, or no further punishment.

In many cases, it is the elbow that makes contact with the opponent. But with the arm extended, the elbow is not nearly as dangerous as when the forearm is bent and the elbow sticks out like the head of hammer or point of a spear. This is how Rojas struck Mullan, by whipping his arm and elbow into Mullan's face while the Dynamo player jostled Rojas from behind trying to win the ball.

Fortunately, Mullan was not seriously injured on the play, and after a few minutes recovered and continued playing. But if MLS took this into consideration while pondering Rojas's punishment, it erred. Rojas lashed out deliberately and viciously, and the fact he failed to break Mullan's orbital socket or nose or cheekbone or cut open the face shouldn't mitigate the aggression or intent of his act.

Players routinely get an extra game tacked onto their suspensions if their fouls are especially dangerous or reckless. Bad tackles are committed usually in clumsy efforts to win the ball; if they are blatant attempts to injure an opponent, they should be punished more severely, and so should an act like that of Rojas, which had nothing to do with playing the game.



0 comments
  1. Raymond Dreyfuss
    commented on: May 22, 2009 at 5:40 p.m.
    his is right on

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
NYCFC's Pirlo problem won't go away    
Jason Kreis, New York City FC's head coach for its expansion season, never came out and ...
Recent incidents sharpen focus on how video replay can improve the game    
MLS and other North American soccer leagues are awaiting specific guidelines to be issued by FIFA ...
MLS ups the ante on expansion    
Major League Soccer has come a long way in the last decade, let alone the last ...
How Brian McBride started his path to stardom    
Brian McBride is regarded as one of the top forwards in U.S. history and played in ...
Klinsmann stance on Jordan Morris makes sense    
The Jordan Morris saga has begun its professional chapter and a middling start with the Sounders ...
Projecting USA's Copa America Centenario roster    
Results for the national team and U-23 team in March altered the landscape for U.S. Head ...
Olympic debacle proves Klinsmann shouldn't be in charge    
Coach Andi Herzog failed to qualify the U.S. U-23 men's national team for the 2016 Olympic ...
Klinsmann failed test in Guatemala City    
Perhaps it was inevitable that the U.S. unbeaten streak against Guatemala in qualifying play had to ...
The day Cruyff came to town    
While the soccer world mourns the death of Johan Cruyff -- the electrifying, revolutionary player who ...
USA is going for the sweep against Guatemala    
The middle two games in the U.S. World Cup qualifying semifinal round are against Guatemala, which ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives