By CALEB SONNELAND
With an injury unfortunately similar to Steve Zakuani's of the Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales suffered what looks to be a season-ending injury in RSL's match against Chivas USA. After a nasty challenge from Marcos Mondaini, Morales immediately went to ground signaling for medical help.
The bad news marred a 1-0 Real Salt Lake victory over nine man Chivas at the Rio Tinto Stadium.
Early in the match, Chivas defender Andrew Boyens was booked for bringing down Alvaro Saborio in what could have been a goal scoring opportunity in the 15th minute. Salt Lake players immediately surrounded referee Paul Ward demanding red, but only a debatable yellow card was given.
Real would get its wish, however, as Boyen was carded for a second bookable offense only nine minutes later after throwing a shoulder into Saborio in an off-the-ball run.
To be fair, the Royals didn't challenge Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy a great deal in the first half, and one of the better chances came in the 32nd minute when Kyle Beckerman latched onto a through ball behind the Chivas back line. But his whipped ball across goal was just behind Saborio, and Chivas could breathe again.
The talking point of the half came five minutes later when Marcos Mondaini brought down Javier Morales from behind. The tackle itself didn't appear to be malicious rather than just reckless and unfortunate. Mondaini will undoubtedly face a suspension, the question is simply for what length?
Chivas, then with nine men on the field, was able to hold a scoreless draw going into the half.
After the break, RSL pressed forward searching for a goal to break the deadlock. Saborio went close in the early minutes of the second half, and on 56 minutes Nat Borchers had a free header that he sent wide of Kennedy's right post.
Defender Chris Wingert also had an effort well saved by Kennedy, but Real could find no way past the Chivas keeper.
After spells of possession and probing runs, Real Salt Lake finally got their breakthrough late in the game in the form of Will Johnson on the 87th minute.
Johnson met the cross of Arturo Alvarez at the back post to give RSL the lead and eventually three points.
Still, the injury to Morales will make the headlines, and it is an unfortunate injury for the Argentine midfielder which could very likely end his season.
Supporters will be quick to cite the disciplinary actions taken against Brian Mullan of the Colorado Rapids as a reference for the suspension undoubtedly coming Mondaini's way.
How many games do you think Marcos Mondaini should be suspended, if any? Were Andrew Boyen's yellow cards warranted? What does the Morales injury mean for RSL going forward?