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
Is Klinsmann worthy of a remarkably long tenure?    
Next month marks the fifth anniversary of Jurgen Klinsmann's tenure as USA head coach.
If the song remains the same, how can it be rewritten?    
Thumped by Argentina in a Copa America Centenario semifinal, the U.S. will nonetheless take positives from ...
Stepping on toes? That's not the solution to improving U.S. soccer    
Do you wonder what kind of advice Jurgen Klinsmann was giving his players during their loss ...
USA reaps benefits of South American opposition    
Reaching a Copa America Centenario semifinal against Argentina to be played on Tuesday is being hailed ...
USA has reason to celebrate but suspensions sure take edge off big win    
First, the good news from Thursday night in Seattle. The USA's 2-1 victory over Ecuador, which ...
Centenario group phase serves up plenty of spectacle, drama, and controversy    
When big teams like Brazil and Uruguay fell prone to lapses, other nations took advantage to ...
Guzan seizes chance for No. 1 shirt    
Seven straight games including all three at the Centenario have featured Brad Guzan in goal; he ...
Berliner John Brooks takes charge of USA's defense    
Just three years ago, John Brooks, born and raised in Berlin but the son of a ...
USA's 'musts' for Paraguay game if it isn't 'must-win'    
The Copa America Centenario results to date are mirror images of what occurred in March, when ...
May Clint Dempsey long play for the USA    
Hard to believe, but as recently as January there was speculation about whether Clint Dempsey would ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives