MLS: Player injured by Stoitchkov in 2003 files lawsuit

Freddy Llerena, who suffered a broken leg while playing for American University in a 2003 scrimmage against D.C. United, has filed a lawsuit against D.C. United, its former investors (Anschutz Entertainment Group), MLS and Hristo Stoitchkov.

The Washington Post reported that Llerena is seeking $5 million in compensatory damages from all parties and $5 million in punitive damages from Stoitchkov, whose foul left Llerena, then a freshman, with a compound fracture of his right leg and other injuries.

The suit alleges the tackle was the result of negligence and reckless misconduct and claims that Llerena suffered physical and psychological injuries, including a leg disability; incurred considerable medical expenses; and was unable to play at the level he did before the injury.

The Post reported that the lawsuit alleges D.C. United and MLS were negligent in hiring and supervising Stoitchkov, who had been disciplined several times during his career.

The lawsuit says that Stoitchkov committed the foul shortly after being angered about a referee's call (which did not involve Llerena). The game was abandoned after the incident. Llerena had a four-inch metal plate inserted in his leg.

MLS suspended Stoitchkov for two games and fined him $2,000.

Llerena played in eight AU games in 2003 and in 20 in 2004. He left the team during his senior year after playing in one game.

Washington Post reporter Steven Goff, who was at the scrimmage, wrote in his blog, ''I, and many others who witnessed it, will never forget the sound of Stoitchkov's foot smashing into the kid's leg.''
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