Mullan suspended 10 games, fined $5,000 for tackle that broke Zakuani’s leg

Mullan (Getty Images)

Colorado Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan has been suspended 10 games and fined $5,000 for his tackle that broke Steve Zakuani's leg in two places last Friday night.

The Major League Soccer Disciplinary Committee added nine games and $4,750 onto the automatic punishment for receiving a red card by determining that "Mullan’s challenge was reckless, egregious, and showed utter disregard for the safety of his opponent," according to a statement released by the league.

Mullan issued a public apology on Wednesday, and he will reportedly not appeal the punishment. The suspension matches the longest one ever handed out by the league, when Ricardo Clark was suspended 10 games for kicking Carlos Ruiz in 2007. It's the longest suspension for an on-ball incident in league history.

What do you think of the punishment? Too severe? Not severe enough? Sound about right?

Share your thoughts below.

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147 Responses to Mullan suspended 10 games, fined $5,000 for tackle that broke Zakuani’s leg

  1. Jason B says:

    Sounds about right. Sends a message to him and the rest of the league that tackles like that will not be tolerated.

  2. Josh D says:

    A lot of games, but the fine doesn’t reflect the severity of it. Seattle should seek some compensation as you would try to do if it had been during an international game…

  3. I hate to see an injury like that. Still, as bad as it looked, tib-fib fractures can heal better than some less serious looking knee injuries.

    The punishment fits the crime, IMO.

  4. kimo says:

    Suspension is fair. Fine should have been a bit heftier. Overall, the punishment seems about right.

  5. The Dude says:

    I’m done talking smack about Mullan. He’s earned a stiff penalty and it’s time to move on. The message has been clearly sent to MLS players: Don’t be reckless.

  6. Keith says:

    RSL fan here, 10 games is too much. Horrible tackle, he went in to injure him, but compared to Ricardo Clark kicking a prone Ruiz, at least this was a soccer play.

  7. Ryan in MN says:

    Right on. 10 games is almost a third of the season. People screaming for has head and calling for him to be banned for the year or for life, calm down. De Jong’s challenge of Ben Arfa was wayy worse, and he never was retroactively suspended. Injuries like this happen all the time in football all over the world, it’s not a phenomenon in MLS or anything.

  8. scott47a says:

    The difference is the league has said it is trying to crack down.

    The old precedents no longer matter.

  9. Adrian says:

    De Jong has naked pictures of someone high up, so I don’t think that’s comparable.

  10. swoopy says:

    Just because De Jong has never been punished for any of his various egregious offenses, doesn’t mean that the system at play in the EPL is working, either. I think this is fair, as I think De Jong should have been punished retroactively several times.

  11. Griff's Dad says:

    Oh good. The Rapids should probably let the Sounders borrow Nyassi for the rest of the season also.

  12. JimmyJoe says:

    That seems fair. Seattle should write a strongly worded letter to the Rapids requesting this.

  13. Ryan in MN says:

    I agree, I wasn’t saying the punishment isn’t fair, which it is, I’m just saying that the argument that MLS is an “out of control, physical league” is a bit of hyperbole.

  14. timmytwoshoezzz says:

    That fine is pretty stiff. Have you seen what MLS players are paid? If you aren’t a DP you don’t make much. This isn’t England dude.

  15. JJ says:

    This was in no way a soccer play. If you think it was, I don’t want to play with you.

    At least Clark held back on the kick to Ruiz’ arm. They were both frustrated and acted out of anger, but Clark had the sense to pull back on the power. Mullan had the intention and the full follow through.

    10 games is perfect. I really hope he plays at Qwest.

  16. Illegal Alien says:

    Dont think it was enough.

  17. Eliminate the Offsides Rule says:

    Mullen should be allowed back on the pitch the same day that Zakuani returns.

    After the game, Mullin said “”It was never my intention to injure him in the least. It was a tackle that I’ve done hundreds of times, and I’d probably do it again.” And why wouldn’t he say that? Mullan has won five MLS cups.

    Should low-skill thug-ball be the winning formula in MLS? If so, then suspending Mullan through June 26 is adequate. I’d personally rather see MLS send the message that speedy, creative players can’t be intentionally chopped down.

  18. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Another five games would be about right. But at least they’re backing up thier stance on improving play.

  19. Goat Boy says:

    About the minimum acceptable, honestly. I would have liked to see 15 games, which would have kept him out through the Rapid’s return trip to Seattle.

  20. boosted335 says:

    Thats exactly what i was expecting. I think its fair

    however in the future they should set categories of fineable infractions and set a minum + percentage penalty to each.

    I think the percentage would be necessary due to the vast varience in salaries

  21. understood says:


  22. Warren says:


    Fine is right too. Given MLS pay scale, any docking of wages will be noticed by players.

  23. readte12 says:

    Exactly. The fine plus the 10 game suspension will cripple his earnings for this year. I’m sure MLS did it’s research s far as how much to fine to go along with those games. All in all, it’s fair.

  24. Tim F. says:

    Not severe enough.

    Mullan has only himself to blame. He didn’t get the call he wanted, lost his cool and immediately went in with a reckless challenge to get the ball at all costs shattering a player’s leg in the process. Mullan should be out as long as Zakuani is out.

  25. readte12 says:

    RSL fan as well and I completely disagree with you. The circumstances behind both plays are very distinct. What Recardo did was involved in an off-the-ball encounter as a reaction to Ruiz. It was similar to engaging in a fight. Mullan reacted to something that Zakuani had no part in and broke his leg for it…

  26. Ian says:

    This is probably a dumb question, but does is it 10 games without pay? I assume so, but I don’t know how soccer contracts work.

  27. k says:

    A bit soft, should have been 15 games and $15,000 to send a real message to thugs like Mullen.

    Seattle also lost White due to a blood clot in his leg; they are in trouble.

  28. marco says:

    The tackle was retaliatory, reckless, and dangerous. Because he said, ‘I’d do it again’, MLS should have imposed counseling for Mullan as a condition to return to playing.

  29. Dizzo says:

    Very fair, IMHO. The suspension sends a strong message about dangerous, reckless play. Frankly, it was a longer suspension than I expected (5-8 games). The fines a bit on the low side, but enough for Mullan to notice and I’m happier with a longer suspension over a stiffer fine.

    Any word on Jonathan Leathers? That decision is also important for sending a message about dangerous tackles.

  30. Dizzo says:

    10 games with pay.

  31. Cliff Poncier says:

    Does Mullan get paid for the 10 games he’s suspended?

  32. G says:

    10 games is a lengthy suspension, but $5,000 is nothing, Mullan made $189K last year.

    The potential damage to the league from talented players choosing to go elsewhere will far outweigh either the suspension or the fine.

    I REALLY hope he shows his face at QWEST on July 16th.

  33. sholata says:

    If Zakuani misses the season, so should Mullan. How is suspending for a third of a season for costing a player his entire season fair? And besides league needs to be sending a message to Colorado, and specifically to Wells Thompson. A third of the season doesn’t cut it and won’t deter thugs like Mullan or Thompson.

  34. el bandito says:

    The stupid Seattle fans who claim he should sit out as long as Zak is hurt are simply idiotic and embarrassing. The fact is, 10 games is a direct response to the injury and not just the violation. The violation deserved the fine and suspension but I do believe 10 games is a little excessive. That being said, so was the tackle so it doesn’t really get me too fired up. I hope he scores the game winner vs. Seattle.

  35. away goals says:

    For additional punishment, I’d like mullan to be aggressively booed every time he touches the ball for the rest of his career.

    Dirty players should constantly be reminded that they’re dirty.

  36. E says:

    A little harsh if you ask me. I think 7 games would have been more appropriate. It was an on the ball incident and he doesn’t have a history of any kind and he clearly conducted himself well in the aftermath of the event. I just think 10 games is a bit much.

  37. lprevolution MT says:

    my thought exactly. and was just about to post it below. +1

  38. JJ says:

    Conducted himself well?!? He didn’t own up to the recklessness. He apologized for the result, but not the action.

  39. Adrian says:

    If I’m not mistaken, 10 games means that he will be playing the next time Seattle and Colorado play.

    He may want to consider a self-imposed suspension for that match.

  40. slyboy says:

    Everyone saying he should be suspended for the season needs to take their crazy hats off. 10 games is fair. The tackle was horrible… and Mullan did not seem very apologetic, but ask yourself when the last time ANY league suspended a player for a whole season due to a tackle. (not violent conduct or banned substances). The poster boy of bad tackles De Jong has never gotten a ban half as long as Mullans and he has a history of these tackles

  41. kpugs says:

    Ruiz deserved the kick from Clark, Zakuani did not deserve this. I would have banned him for the year and fined him $10k. Mullan is a scumbag.

  42. vik says:

    Seems right. Sends a strong message, and Mullan clearly feels badly about it.

    Can’t wait to see both players back on the field competing again.

  43. Clayton says:

    I was hoping he’d get a few less games. I’m ok with the fine, but I was thinking 6 or 7 might be appropriate.

    He’s not a dirty player. Speedy recovery Zak and good luck to Brian getting back on the field. Our league is much better with these players on the field.

  44. JesseMT says:

    MLS suspensions are actually with pay.

  45. Rev up those Revs says:

    I’m very disapointed at the suspension. I was looking forward to telling Mullan to break a leg as he left the visitors locker room at Robertson Stadium next Wednesday.

  46. lprevolution MT says:

    Definitely what I expected after reviewing the play right after seeing it. Steve Zakuani make about the same as Mullan and is a far better athlete and player. Mullan should have been fined $20,000 to put him a least a little closer to the salary he should be making.

  47. gilby says:

    I’m a Seattle and this is more then I expected from the MLS given past history but less then what I think is fair. I would have gone 15 games and 10k to push him out past Colorado’s return trip to Seattle or possibly 10 games but with one of those games being the return trip to Seattle.

  48. JL says:

    To be honest, I think his stupid comment post game is probably would sealed his fate. He showed no remorse, and even a willingness to continue that type of tackle. The league had to send a message to him and others saying hell no you won’t do it again. Kudos to them, I am more amazed this is his first suspension and first serious injury via stupid tackles, he has been doing them for years. That’s his game, gritty, hard charging, and tireless. Most of the time it’s borderline reckless, and this time it was over the line.

  49. MrCoffee says:

    According to the player’s union, Mullan made 180K last year with Houston. 5k won’t hurt him any.

  50. ETJ says:

    Did any of you ever play soccer? Honestly, these accidents happen quite frequently and this was a freak play. Have any of you seen the video? There is clearly no malice and like Mullan said, he has done this tackle a hundred times before. Anyone who has played soccer at a high level has done tackles like this a hundred times before as well. The chance of breaking a leg like Mullan did is 1 in a 1000 and soccer players are always playing with the odds of getting injured on a freak accident. Mullan should have been given a 3 game suspension. Frankly, if the player he injured wasnt Zakuani and a player on the team with the largest fan base, it would have been a 3 game suspension

  51. curmudgeon says:

    Senor Creditor — do you know whether this suspension also affects his ability to participate in reserve league matches?

  52. MrCoffee says:

    “On-ball incident”? There’s no way Mullan was playing the ball. He was looking to hit someone.

  53. Reid says:

    Don’t know about stupid seattle fans, but i’m a Union fan and I think he should be out for as long as Zakuani.

    10 games would have been fine, but the idiotic comment at the end of the game shows no remorse.

    I was looking forward to a pretty healthy verbal attack on Mullan when they come to NE in 2 weeks, thats the only bad part about this suspension.

  54. Brian says:

    lolz. I’m not a Clark fan in the least but I’d buy the dude a beer or just shake his hand for that one if I ever met him.

  55. jd says:

    Another difference is that Ruiz deserved it.

  56. Brian says:

    Clearly no malice? I wouldn’t so far as saying that. I don’t he wanted to break Zakuani’s leg but clearly he got pissed and lashed out. He thought he got fouled, missed on his first tackle of Zak, put his arms up and looks at the ref, then turns around and runs with a full head of speed right at Zakuani and breaks his leg.

  57. jd says:

    as would I… and I don’t even drink!

  58. 20 says:

    Why would Jonathan Leathers get a suspension? His tackle was not even close to as bad as Mullan’s.

  59. scott47a says:

    Sorry but I’m calling BS on the “clearly no malice” comment.

  60. 20 says:

    Wells Thompson? What are you talking about?

  61. Goat Boy says:

    Sorry, but that was not a freak play. Mullan went in to make a hard tackle on the player, not to win the ball. He did it with intent.

    Things like this may happen in run-of-play tackles, but the type of tackle that Mullan made has no place in soccer.

  62. readte12 says:

    That’s exactly the point I was making.

  63. 20 says:

    It doesn’t matter that he’s not a dirty player, in that moment he was and he made a disgraceful challenge.

    All this “not a dirty player” talk is total BS. I agree that he’s not dirty but it does not matter.

  64. AJ says:

    Lets say Mullan did the same tackle and somehow, Zakuani was in a slightly different position and it just flipped him over and he landed on his back, then took a few minutes on the sideline to get himself together before playing the rest of the match.

    Does this get the same additional suspension?

    I don’t think so. Mullan is being suspended for the result of the tackle and not the tackle.

    If MLS wants to make a point, they need to do something like this for a tackle that doesn’t result in injury. I’d bet that for every broken leg, there are four or five similar tackles that go unpunished (or get a yellow) because the victim gets up.

  65. 20 says:

    Preston Burpo’s injury was a freak accident.

    This was a brutal tackle with an attempt to injure a player

  66. and, he did win the ball and Zakuani was oblivious to his looming challenge even though he had a look at Mullan approaching. Sometimes, you just have to jump and let the buffoon upend you instead of planting into the ground. I’m not blaming the victim here, Mullan was reckless (willful?) and it’s his fault. I’m just saying there are contributing and mitigating factors to a foul besides – how grotesque was the outcome.

  67. Isn’t it the “offside” rule? just sayin’

  68. P.s. this is coming from a Rapids season ticket holder. I think their play is a bit chippy and they need to focus on skill a bit more. Connor, Pablo, Mullan, et al, seem to place more emphasis on the physical side of the game. You could say this was bound to happen based on past behavior.

  69. Lassidawg says:

    What were you watching Mullen came from the side and zakuani was focused down field, there is no way to jump when a guy jumps into your legs.

  70. chris says:

    wow hes not worth that, i thought he was a drag on Colorado they have better players then him

  71. Michael Vann says:

    Did you actually read the quote or did you see the video from where the quote derived? I ask because when I first read the quote, I had the same reaction, that he had no remorse. However, once I saw the video, I understood more. Mullan was visibly shaken. He was clearly remorseful. You could tell what he was trying to say that he has made hard challenges before and will continue do so but he had no intention of breaking Zak’s leg. It was pretty obvious Mullan was regretful and remorseful. It still doesn’t erase his actions on the field. He’s paying the price (literally and figuratively) and what MLS handed down is fair.

  72. Waterlewd says:

    I agree with ETJ. All the complaining and implications of intent to injure are based on no facts at all. The result of the tackle was horrible and the tackle was reckless. Saying Mullan went in with intention to break a player’s leg is baseless. Mullan went in extremely hard with intent to get the ball back. Zakuani didn’t see him because he was being screened and his leg got caught up under the tackle. End of story. I find that type of tackle inexcusable though. No player needs to leap with both feet into a tackle. It’s a sliding tackle, not a flying tackle.

  73. Dave says:

    Good point AJ.

    I think the suspension is good and the fine is fair, especially since he is getting paid, considering that the MLS wants the league to clean up. However, I seriously doubt he meant to hurt Zackuani. He made a terrible decision by going in WAY to hard but I seriously doubt he wanted to hurt him. For christ sake he is going to counseling and is torn up over it to a large degree! If Zackuani HADN’T gotten hurt no one would say “Mullan was trying to hurt him!” He isn’t Ben Thatcher! Mullan isn’t a thug, he isn’t a disgrace he made a serious mistake and is getting a fair punishment for it.

    This is what thugs do: link to

  74. Brad says:

    Rapids fan here. I think the punishment is a little tough, but not all that surprising. I was looking for a few less games, but more money. I wont complain, however, due to understanding that the MLS is attempting to not create a league where this is not a problem.

    What I will say, is that this has highlighted how ignorant and under-educated the MLS fan-base still is. Mullan is a class act, that has won everywhere he has played. He has never been in a situation like this before. Yes, the tackle was VERY BAD(I was there), but we all know that he didnt mean for this to happen. Yes, he needs to be fined and suspended, which has now been handed down. Lets move on.

    Soccer is an incredibly physical sport, played with out pads, and at an incredible pace. Bad tackles and injuries happen all the time. But mindless name calling and asking for over the top suspensions is silly. And to all the Sounder Fans out there, stop taking quotes out of context to try and cast Mullan as a career thug. Leave that sort of stuff to our politicians. The Sounders may have a ton of supporters, but they clearly have little experience with soccer as a sport.

  75. Michael says:

    Mullan was talking about hard challenges. It’s pretty obvious based on the video of his quotes what he was implying. You can tell he was very regretful and remorseful. Still doesn’t take away what he did. MLS is doing the right thing. His suspension and fine is spot on.

    Oh, BTW you don’t pay attention to news much do you? It was on MLS website that Mullan has not practice all week and the Rapids have provided some counseling to help he cope with the situation.

  76. Lassisawg says:

    If the leg wasn’t broken I would say 2 or 3 games

  77. Dave says:

    Agreed. If a player wants to really hurt another player he won’t slide in, there are far better/less noticeable ways to injure someone on a soccer field.

  78. Paul says:

    Of course he didn’t MEAN to break Zakuani’s leg, but I think at lesat one meaning of recklessness is that he didn’t care whether or not he broke his leg, or caused any of a number of equally horrifying but foreseeable results.

  79. RonS says:

    The Sounders GM said that — are you saying that the GM is idiotic and embarrassing? An I had thought so highly of him….

  80. RonS says:

    The Sounders GM said that — are you implying that the GM is idiotic and embarrassing? And I had thought so highly of him….

  81. Exasperated says:

    The 10 game suspension is barely acceptable. A season-long ban would have sent a stronger message. The fine is a joke. 5K? And he gets paid while suspended?! Maybe I should scissor-kick my boss tonight before I leave work, breaking his leg, then get a paid month-long vacation, after which I will come back to work like nothing happened. If any question, I will explain that business is war and these things happen in offices all around the world.

  82. MIke S. says:

    Mullan should match that fine with a donation to Zakuani’s charity.

  83. DaMA says:

    That’s right. If you are recklessly negligent you run the risk that the worst case scenario comes to fruition. In that case you pay the price. If you get lucky and the worst does not happen, then you face a less sever punishment. For instance, if you happen to recklessly fire a gun in the air and nobody gets hit you aren’t tried for what COULD have happened… but if you do then you are. That’s the way [legitimate] justice systems generally work. In other words: You don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about :)

  84. Judging Amy says:

    I wouldn’t be so sure. Its not gonna bankrupt him but its a stretch to say it won’t hurt him at all.

    180 after taxes with a family doesn’t make you rich.

  85. jack says:

    Time to take the Rapids goggles off buddy. Doesnt matter what he did in the past, no respectable footy player at any level makes that tackle from that angle with that amount of force in the follow-thru. A player who has been a professional for years and played the game his whole life has the athletic control to pull out of that slide. Mullen didnt get a call he wanted, lost his head (in the 3rd minute!) and went in with intent to foul. Did he intend to injure that bad? Probly not, but that in no way excuses the deed. And look, I dont give a sh** about Seattle, but to say their fans don’t understand soccer as well as you is ridiculous.

  86. Jeremy says:

    I know it wasn’t your intention, but I lol’d at your last few sentences.

  87. JJ says:

    I like this idea. 10 games is about right for me. $5,000 is very soft.

    If Mullan did this, I would count it as an apology

  88. shane says:

    Yeah 10 games is barely exceptable, only because it is the longest ever. I was really really looking forward to watching Zakuani this season.

    MLS adds needs to add a ” . . . and next time it will be more” to the suspension statement.

  89. Kevin says:


    A word for people here. These are professional athletes we are talking about. I don’t disagree that it was an absolutely horrible challenge – it was. But these guys don’t take losing or not getting their way on the pitch lightly; I sincerely believe if they didn’t have this attitude, they never would have made it to the pro ranks anyway. That’s why we’re here commenting on it. The punishment fits the crime.

  90. Jason says:

    Agreed, but will it take another broken leg before they punish this sort of tackle. They happen all the time, but the broken legs are rare…..

  91. Kevin says:

    You get the ball at all costs. That is what professional athletes do. It’s a fair punishment.

  92. KenC says:

    It’s probably only $3500 after taxes.

  93. Kevin says:


  94. Rory says:

    They better dang well enforce it across the board or they’re going to expose themselves to an outcry just like the one over the Mullan tackle. I wonder how they will handle horrible tackles that miss altogether and fair but harsh tackles that break legs. Either way they, and the media that called for such harsh punishments on Mullan, are going to be fair game for calls of hypocracy if they don’t react in the same manner.

  95. David says:

    Yea, that doesn’t make sense at all Ken

  96. Buster says:

    I tend to agree with most of your post except when you get to the part of addressing “all the Sounder Fans out there”…

    That’s a bit ridiculous. Yes there was a lot of nonsense remarks and comments during all of this from a FEW Seattle fans. But the majority were/are exactly spot on in their assessment of the situation and have quite a bit of experience with “soccer as a sport”.

    How would you like it if we referred to ALL of you Colorado Fans as “uneducated thugs that don’t know a thing about how football should be played” just because of the remarks of a few Rapids fans?

    Let’s keep it real.

  97. Rory says:

    Since his wife is a teacher, who may or may not be teaching since the move, and they had to do a sudden move from a different state last year, I’d say 5 grand will in fact hurt. I make less than a fifth what Mullan makes and $1,000 might not bankrupt me, but it would hurt.

  98. rory says:

    I agree, the Sounders GM was being idiotic and embarrassing. Will he be so quick to demand equal sitting time the next time one of his players injures someone? No. Will he offer to make a player sit the next time that god-forsaking turf injures someone up there, will he offer to drop some points because the unnatural way the ball bounces off that turf affects games? No, of course not.

  99. rory says:

    Oh okay, so Mullan is a scumbag for accidentally breaking a leg, but Clark is a hero for actually kicking someone in the chest on purpose. Good reasoning there.

  100. Ricky B. Free says:

    They are called professionals for a reason and that includes not hurting other players just because you are angry.

  101. David says:

    amazingly inchoherent

  102. understood says:

    actually it seems there’s some ignorance on your part since most people who watch the league have said that mullan frequently plays on the edge…he actually has a rep getting frustrated at times and committing message sending tackles…he has always been known as a borderline player as evidenced by taylor twellmans tweets regarding this incident where he indicated he got texts from players around the league saying they were not surprised that mullan was involved in this incident

  103. Aaron says:

    I wouldn’t have minded seeing a few more games attached. But that said, I’m glad he’ll be available at Quest Field, I just hope he plays.

  104. Rowsdower says:

    Some of this “thug” and “journeyman” adjectives being thrown at Mullan is just plain ridiculous. The guy was a integral cog out on the right wing for FIVE MLS Cups. Yes, he is responsible for a terrible challenge but a thug? No way.

  105. hefebreo says:

    in mexico for example once a injury like this is made the ofensive part is suspended until the injured player is able to play again, thats fair to me

  106. Aaron says:

    Alright ETJ, put down the pipe and let’s come back to reality… nice and slow now, here we go.

  107. Primoone says:


    That same tackle happens during the course of the game…Zak and Mullan just happened to be a coupleof inches removed from safety and a warning, respectively. I can’t help to think that he could have saved himself a few games had he not tried to defend his play in the media.

    And the vilifying of Mullan is unnecessary…seriously.

  108. Aaron says:

    I’ll have to disagree with you here. I liken this to reckless driving. You don’t necessarily have the intent to severely injure someone, but you are acting in a noticeably reckless manner when you should know better.

  109. Matt C in Tampa says:

    Partly correct. I think Clark’s should have been less. Actually, he maybe should’ve gotten a bonus.

  110. Bonji says:

    At the end of the day this doesn’t solve anything. As other posters say Mullan is being suspended for the result of the tackle, not the tackle.

    Dema Kovalenko has broken two legs in league play (both burn players, ending one career) and one of a college kid in a friendly (I believe ending his career). He never got a ten game suspension. He hasn’t been suspended 10 games combined for three broken legs.

    MLS needs to address the problem, not the end result. Referees are bad in the league. They’re inconsistent and players don’t know what is going to be called a foul one day and what won’t the next day. Mullan obviously thought he was fouled and then made a bad decision and went in too hard on Zakuani. He shouldn’t have done that. It was obviously too hard a tackle. But the reason he did was frustration. A frustration you see in players, coaches and fans alike around the league.

    US Soccer and MLS need to work together to get MLS refs on the same page, calling fouls consistently. Until they do, this kind of thing is going to continue to happen. This penalty won’t stop it. It makes Mullan a scape goat.

  111. abc says:

    Not enough, MLS and the commish should have really made a statement here, opportunity missed.

  112. Eliminate the Offside (no S!) Rule says:

    Yes, I saw the video. He was clearly upset – as he should have been. But I also think he meant what he said.

    I think MLS has an opportunity to make a choice — to say, through its actions, that MLS should be about creative offensive soccer, rather than sloppy, brutish negative soccer.

  113. JJ says:

    He is being suspended for the tackle AND the result. This tackle had a lot of bad in it. Frustration, retaliation, violent recklessness, severe injury, and a lack of remorse all played into it imo.

    This is the only tackle in MLS history to have this many significantly bad attributes.

    Name another tackle or incedent where you could say these things about it.

  114. scott47a says:

    There seems to be a disconnect in the discussion between the idea of “malice” and the idea of “intent to injure.”

    I think it’s obvious that the guy came in with malice. He was not just attempting to win the ball, he was attempting to “pay back” after what he perceived was a foul against him that the ref missed.

    Anyone who says that Mullan’s intent was just to win the ball is wrong. But don’t take my word for it. Go back and read the league’s interpretation of events.

  115. RSLRob says:

    Anyone catch the Rapids press release expressing “disappointment” over the decision? Apparently since Mullan is an all-around great guy he doesn’t deserve the punishment.

  116. JimLuk says:

    As a Rapids fan I have a few thoughts, first off I w agree that this is fair discipline, though I would have hoped for a few less games myself.

    Now those out there that want to vilify the Rapids and our style of play do so with a complete disregard for the situation in Colorado. Complaints should be directed at Stan Kroenke because he gives the rapids front office less than half the money of the next lowest team. Guess what this means, no scouting trips to Africa or South America. I personally think Gary Smith has done very well with what he has been given, I can’t say for sure that the style of play would be different with more resources but we have what we have for now.

    Most Colorado fans that I know would be the first to say they are critical of the “ugly”(English) style of soccer that the Rapids play.

    Not to be making excuses (which I’m not), but I wanted to put that out there. I would love to see a player or two from somewhere farther south than Jamaica.

    I’m curious whether people think Brek Shea’s scissor “tackle” last season warrants ten games as it too was “reckless, egregious, and showed utter disregard for the safety of his opponent.”

    And because I am a Rapids supporter I wonder what the penalty should have been for Ihemelu shoving an injured(admittedly flopping like Ruiz, but injured nonetheless) Kanji in the MLS cup last year.

    Discipline and referees will never always be correct, but that drama is a small part of why we love the game. We can do it without resorting to branding a players career or an entire team as “thugs.”

    Sorry for that, my mini rant is over.

  117. Brad says:

    Well if Taylor Twellman says so, than it must be so.

    And I said that Mullan has not been involved in a “situation like this “, meaning that he has not been suspended in addition to noramal card accumulation. (To the best of my knowledge). Its funny how history gets re-written to suit the present.

  118. Warren says:

    Yes, you are blaming the victim.

  119. Aaron says:

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one… the second part of the post was hilarious. Just picturing myself casually walking by my boss as she’s holding her morning coffee then immediately going straight for the legs with a precision scissor-chopdown. Then tell her that I’ve done it hundreds of times before, and that I’d likely do it again.

  120. Brad says:

    To be honest, Buster, when I looked at my post, after it went up, I realized it was stronger than I intended. What I was really trying to stress, was that all of the excessive and incindiary comments, much of which were taken out of context, were less than flattering and I believe detrimental to the MLS. Sorry the post read like it did, but I refrained from commenting on the issue, until the discipline was given, and then I realized that I was more dissapointed in the fans reaction, that I was of the Rapids player.

  121. Butch says:

    This punishment should have been more severe. Suspend him the rest of the year and fine him, his entire salary for the year. Brian Mullan = 100% pure loser.

  122. Joamiq says:

    Interesting. Excessive, IMO. I hope the league is prepared to hand out more 10+ game suspensions for tackles like this.

  123. NF says:

    The 10-game suspension was fair. A $5,000 fine would greatly affect a player making the minimum but probably will not be felt that much by Mullan. That’s the way the world works though.

    Anyone saying the result should not be taken into account is simply wrong. It doesn’t work that way in the legal system or here. When you act recklessly (and/or violently), you are held accountable for your actions and the outcome of those actions. Otherwise, you have to punish people based on presumption of what could have happened.

    All in all, MLS has made some good decisions recently with this suspension, rescinding Collin’s red card, working with RSL’s schedule to place a priority on the Champions’ League. If the officiating issues can be addressed by the USSF, we’ll be in good shape.

  124. Dizzo says:

    They’re reviewing it as well. It was a tackle from behind which is pretty common in MLS. However, if they really want to send a message they could give a fine or one day suspension for dangerous play to Leathers as well. A lot less likely, but possible IMHO.

  125. smokeminside says:

    My money says he doesn’t even dress.

  126. PetedeLA says:

    Think he was still in the heat of the moment.

    I greatly respect his decision to not appeal the punishment.

    I don’t know much about Mullan, but aside from that tackle he seems like a real professional.

    He made a mistake. He got punished.

    If I were Steve Z.’s immediate family I’d probably want his head, but the way everything was dealt with seems totally fair.

    For the record, I asked for at least 8 games, a weeks wages, and community service hours.

  127. JJ says:

    Name one other “tackle like this”?

  128. DingDong says:

    Ken’s comment makes sense. The fine is probably deductible, so it comes out of his pre-tax income. It’s more like a $3,500 tax. (His moving expenses are almost certainly deductible as well).

  129. DingDong says:

    typo: “…more like a $3,500 fine after tax”

  130. ETJ says:

    As soon as you put down the cool aid, a-hole

  131. Smits says:

    Too harsh for a tough but fair tackle.

    YES the result was unfortunate but the tackle didn’t look malicious.

    Granted I only watched the footage once because the result was so gruesome

  132. MicahK says:

    Mullan deserves this he is such a tool.

  133. marco says:

    Mullan needs counseling. When he said, he’d ‘do it again’ he failed to understand his reckless, vengeful, dangerous tackle.

  134. Joamiq says:

    They happen. They just don’t usually result in broken legs.

  135. Shwaxinator says:

    I have to agree with AJ.

    Terrible result. Obviously he jumped into the tackle, but if Z’s studs hadn’t stuck in the field he would probably have been back up and playing through the game.

    Consistently punishing studs up reckless tackles with a straight red would do more for overall behavior in the league than a huge suspension once every five years.

  136. Warren says:

    Saying Mullan did not go into the tackle with malice aforethought is baseless.

    As league has already concluded. Literally, the case is closed, Mullan’s already convicted and sentenced.

    But you still want to argue that in his own mind Mullan is innocent?

    Fine, irrelevant point granted.

  137. Warren says:

    no. making excuses for out of control leg breakers is unncessary. seriously.

    Doesn’t seem you got the memo yet from the league that the good old low-skill/sloppy tackle MLS is thing of the past…

  138. Warren says:

    scape goating couldn’t happen to a moe deserving guy…playing in MLS.

    Now if we could extraterritorially punish deJong and our favorite Manchester united thugs for laying in to Holden…

  139. TimN says:

    I’m glad to see this punishment handed down. He assuredly deserved it, ESPECIALLY after his completely tone deaf response after the game…and then to add on the “groaner” of “It’s a tackle I’d probably do again.” Moron!

    I hope the rest of the league’s hacks get the message.

  140. RB says:

    What’s moronic is the decontextualization and mischaracterization of that part of his statement

    Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

    You’d think this was politics, it’s been so sound bite-ified and blown out of proportion. Periodically others here have brought up this point, but when so many are eager to believe whatever suits their preconceived notions, it’s impossible to get anyone to listen and think for half a moment.

  141. RB says:


    It’s all BS if they don’t stick to it consistently going forward.

  142. smokeminside says:

    Brad, you don’t have to cast aspersions on soccer fans who are rabid supporters and DO know a lot about the game. Seattle’s had fans like that since probably before you were born.

  143. Rowsdower says:

    Well said.

  144. Sean says:

    Didn’t see the injury, but can anyone tell me (who saw both) if it was on the same level as the horrific Preston Burpo injury at the US Open Cup last year?

    I think it would have affected just as many people if it was better attended and have a higher viewership.

    I don’t think Burpo has played since.

    That wasn’t ‘exactly’ a dirty incident. Although, I thought Dane Richards was foolish to challenge for that ball. It was a 50-50 ball but from my vantage point, the keeper had the slight edge to get there. Dane shouldn’t have contested.

  145. PutAbirdOnIt says:

    Look .. the guy’s a vet of this league, he should know better.

    Hey Young bucks!!.. Don’t be like Mullan

  146. TimN says:

    Are you kidding me?! What’s out of context about his half-hearted apology after the game? Watch the video…he recklessly crashed into Zakuani high and with two feet seconds after having the ball stripped and clearly upset that the official did not call a foul. This guy is a league leader in fouls, and is known for rough play. Zakuani’s injury could be career ending. It’s assuredly season ending, and at the VERY LEAST puts him through months of suffering and rehab. I can’t even believe you’re trying to defend Mullan on ANY level…Mullan got EXACTLY what he deserved!

  147. TimN says:

    Nothing that RB said was “well said.” It’s as tone deaf as Mullan is.