Morales Leg Break Mars Real Salt Lake Win

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 6.25.24 PM


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?

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87 Responses to Morales Leg Break Mars Real Salt Lake Win

  1. Galaxy Jimbo says:

    That was pretty ugly!

  2. fake ny fan alert says:

    wow so many leg breaks recently

  3. Shark says:

    To set the record straight…Its not a leg break, according to RSL radio announcers and Jason Kries in his post game press conference….its a broken & dislocated ankle….

    It was a stupid late challenge that should see at a minimum the same suspension as Mullen in my opinion…

  4. Jason B says:

    I don’t think his suspension should be on par with Mullan’s. I’d favor a 3 game suspension for Mondaini and maybe a $1500 fine. The tackle on Morales had a pretty disastrous outcome but I don’t think it was malicious.

  5. Shark says:

    Oh and the ref was horrible…lost control of the game early and then blew it on the initial call on Morales…should have been a straight red regardless of the injury….

    The officiating in this league has got to get better and this game only accents how bad it is…he is responsbile for protecting the players and had he done so earlier this more than likely would not have happened….

  6. Juan from L.A. says:

    This really sucks and I feel bad for the whole RSL family and especially hope and pray for a quick recovery for Morales…for those that watched the play like I unfortunately did through telefutura…Mondiani although bad and late fool DID NOT maliciously went at Morales like Mullan did…he didn’t even touch the ankle…the play showed he fouled him and as they were falling his ankle got the bad part of the play and thus it looked like it snapped…just wanted to make that clear

  7. Shark says:

    Fair enough, but I disagree…he may have ended Morales career who is 31 years old and may not be able to return and if he does more than likely nowhere near where he was…to me intent should have nothing to do with the suspension….it was an awful tackle and late and should be suspended as such…

    Time this league puts a stop to this sort of stuff….

  8. Shark says:

    Doctor Cooper (RSL doctor) is on RSL radio post game…said it is a break and dislocation of the left ankle…looking at 3 months for the fracture/dislocation to heal…at the earliest he coudl return in 4 months…more than likely 5-6 months….will have a surgical repair in the next few days….also talked about the mental apprehension he will have to overcome…expects a full recovery…said Morales is a really positive person…

  9. Tony in Quakeland says:

    This is pathetic. Three of the more attractive players gone. No shortage of thugs left.

  10. Chuck says:

    Mondiani got beat and he threw himself at Morales’ legs. Nothing good can come out of such challenge. I find it very hard to believe he didn’t know that.

  11. Tim F. says:

    You can call this a MLS / Mullan foul. MLS is quickly becoming a hack league and only has itself to blame. Expect some DPs or quality players like Teemu to go down next.

  12. marco says:

    My guess is it will take one more break, DeRo maybe Landon or Montero, before Garber takes action.

  13. TMZ says:

    Just heard that David Beckham was in a car crash on the 405 fwy!

  14. Tim F. says:

    MLS set the precedent when it handed down a light repercussion for Mullan.

  15. ShaggyReAL says:

    3 game ban would work for me. It was reckless but no intent to injury Morales. Anything more than that would be overkill.

    I could see MLS going for a Mullan like suspension to make an example out of these reckless challenges.

  16. Shark says:

    Forgot to say looks like season ending injury a smiddgen of hope he could return late in 2011, but not real likely….players pretty devistated over the injury…I’ve gotten to know allot of these guys including Javi and they are a tight group and a great bunch of guys….

    Javi is a great guy…great family man..and funny…

  17. Shark says:

    As a fellow RSL fan, I see the latter happening…if nothing else because of the rash of these serious injuries this year and the league needing to send a message and frankly a PR nightmare if this continues and a Beckham or Henry is hurt this bad…

    Oh and fix the ref problem…its better the past five years however, still not good…

  18. Brent McD says:

    this is getting ridiculous. 3 of the best players in the league now done for the season due to questionable tackles. MLS better get their sh!t together quick or there will be a mass exodus of skilled players. total bush league

  19. slr says:

    Yeah, the refs have to get better. Refs need to be able to somewhat manage a physical game. It would also help if they don’t make obvious calls into a judgment calls.

    As far as a ban, who knows, but 3 games seems a little light to me right now. 5 games would make me feel ok.

  20. Shark says:

    On the RSL post game show they talked about how this is not good for MLS with three brual injuries against three players who people pay the money to see and from a PR standpoint this not good for the league…

    Not to mention he had no intent at playing the ball when he pulled Morales down….the replays show that….

    They think the Mullen precident will hurt him more than it might had this been a stand alone injury….

    Discipline Committee will meet on Thursday and they said to expect a big suspension similar to Mullen’s….

  21. over there says:

    Intent or not (there was no malice there), recklessly endangering someone’s career through such gross incompetence warrants a pretty hefty punishment. That was a horrifically amateurish tackle – late, out of control, from an awful angle, with no hope of cleanly winning the ball.

  22. sciroccer says:

    I was there, I’ve watch the video 3 or 4 times now, and I’ll tell ya, it WAS mallicious! I say they toss him out until Morales is back playing games! These guy’s have already had warnings about this type of play. If the league wants this to stop? They will suspend the players for as long as the injury is suffered! This is (AT LEAST) 10 games + 1 for the card, and $10,000.00 fine!!! The punishment should be increased if the league is serious about this crap play! MLS needs to stamp this out now!!! Watch the video- 1. It’s from behind 2. The ball is on the other side of Morales from him. Complete crap!!!

  23. sciroccer says:

    Ref never had control of the game.

  24. patrick says:

    its funny that as as soon as garber talks about protecting the skill players we see a rash of terrible, season ending injuries. It sucks to see the stars of the league being taken out from behind for the most part. I don’t know how much more the MLS can do at this point

  25. Mental Assassin says:

    Another reason to avoid watching MLS

  26. phillypride says:

    How can anyone say the tackle wasn’t malicious?! He had NO CHANCE to get anywhere near the ball!!! He hacked down Morales pure and simple. His intent was to foul Morales. Did he want to break his ankle? Surely not. But it wasn’t a just a “reckless” tackle. Reckless is going for the ball without regard for the player. Mondaini can’t be said to have been going for the ball at all. He deserves even more time than Mullan in my opinion. At least Mullan was making a play on the ball when he intentionally hacked down Zakuani.

  27. phillypride says:

    That’s ridiculous. The ball was far enough out in front of Morales that Mondaini can’t be said to have been going for the ball. He tackled Morales’s legs intentionally. It’d be one thing if he tackled the ball through Morales’s legs, but he didn’t! He had no chance for the ball. That’s malicious! Just because he didn’t go in with the speed that Mullan did doesn’t mean it wasn’t malicious. If fact, I’d say it’s even worse.

  28. IAM4JAVI says:

    Three games WTF??? It was not malicious, it was stupid. He should have never tried that.

  29. phillypride says:

    “he didn’t even touch the ankle”???

    Is your last name Mondaini!?!?

  30. Scott A says:

    I’m glad Garber and co. has been proactive in directing refs to shut down this thuggish behavior and pumping more money into referees. Pshhhh

    Meanwhile he’s worrying about his worst fears of having a hooligan riot at an MLS game.

  31. phillypride says:

    I really don’t get it. I play aggressive soccer and I can see going for the ball when you’re beat and getting too much of the player. That’s reckless to me. Mondaini was running behind Morales for a few steps and the ball was out in front of Morales. He had time to think and he tackled Morales’s legs without coming anywhere near the ball or having any reason to believe that he could get anywhere near the ball. This is more than reckless.

  32. dycsoccer17 says:

    5-7 games is my prediction.

  33. This Guy says:

    He should be suspended 10 games. I saw the malicious intent in his eyes.

  34. sammysounder says:

    He did not mean to hurt Morales, but he disregarded his safety. His goal was to take down the player and he did.

    We’ve set a precedent and MLS must stick to it if it’s going to get into the players heads that it’s not acceptable to tackle with disregard for your opponents safety.

    10 games.

  35. Magas says:

    This is a disaster. Such a great player. Stupid challenge.

    And did anyone else notice that all three of these season-ending injuries happened in a nationally televised MLS game? Great advertising campaign, MLS. WTF. And, again, the telecast shows no respect for the player, playing the replay over and over and over again. It was like a snuff film. And, don’t tell me, “Hey, it’s news.” No excuse for poor judgment on Telefuturo’s part.

  36. mcm says:

    Sad. Makes soccer seem kind of meaningless. Is it really worth these kinds of injuries. The idea of doing what you can get away with is not sportsmanlike.

  37. Adrian says:

    I frankly don’t understand how people can say his intent was not malicious.

    It was impossible for him to get the ball, and he clearly knew that. Not only was he too far away, but there was a player in between he and the ball. His solution? Wreck the player.

    Clear malicious intent is the only reasonable inference.

  38. Neruda says:

    I’m bummed to read this news as I wasn’t able to catch the game. Why are all these good players going down on posession minded teams? It’s like a clash between a new style of play that a few teams are playing vs the traditional rough defensive minded play, MLS has been in the past.

    5-7 games sounds right but I can see MLS going 7 or 8 to show it can’t afford it’s best players to get hurt in this manner.

  39. abc says:

    I take it you’re not a huge fan of the NFL, ice hockey, rugby, etc.

  40. abc says:

    What he deserves is the same suspension as Mullan. That should be until the injured player returns, or at least until the end of the season, but unfortunately it probably won’t even be the 10 games that Mullan got….

  41. phillypride says:

    Here’s a picture of Mondaini “touching” Morales’s ankle: link to

    Care to retract your statement, Juan?

  42. Andrew says:

    I am so glad most of the people commenting on here aren’t running the league. Yes, this sucks tremendously that three of the most entertaining players in MLS are out for awhile because of terrible tackles. Yes, the offending parties should be punished. But some of the ideas about what is or isn’t warranted for the punishment are ridiculous.

    The deeper issues here are inconsistencies with referees and the way they control games. Which is a huge problem worldwide. Brutal challenges will unfortunately happen, from Sunday league on up. They will never be totally eradicated.

  43. Oog says:

    Here’s what RSL said on their Facebook page:

    “Latest update on our friend Javier Morales … suffered a fracture dislocation of his left ankle and accompanying ligament tears, according to Team Doctor Andrew Cooper. Surgery is scheduled for Monday and recovery time is expected to be around four months.

    Let’s rally behind Javi and send him your thoughts as he deals with this unfortunate injury. Get well #11!”

  44. Vivalosburros says:

    A lot of comments on this board are blaming MLS, but the reality is that Mullan got a longer suspension than he would have in other leagues. EPL gave de Jong nothing for breaking someone’s leg. In the end the refs and league can only do so much. It is up to the players to not make these tackles.

  45. Seattle!Sounders! says:

    Mondaini can rot in hell!

  46. Brent McD says:

    ugh, that photo. brutal

  47. Jason B says:

    Okay, after watching the replay several times from a different angle…yes this tackle was pretty messed up and probably deserves a harsher suspension than 3 games. The ball was two yards ahead of Morales and Mondaini was nowhere near the ball either.

  48. b says:


  49. ericJ says:

    Not arguing with you, but I am just curious: What do you think the punishment should be for this tackle?

  50. Andrew says:

    Honestly, I don’t have a good answer. The whole “offending party should be out until injured player returns” argument is ridiculous. I didn’t think Mullan’s punishment was unfair. But gauging intent or malice is not necessarily a simple thing. The challenge was certainly reckless, but this wasn’t Roy Keane ending that dude’s career in a clear act of retaliation. Or Marty McSorley taking a stick to Donald Brashear’s head.

    I guess what I am saying, more than anything, is that punishing something like this is not a simple thing, and that knee-jerk reactions to an incident because it was disgusting aren’t usually the best ways of determining a fair punishment.

  51. Rev up those Revs says:

    The Don ought to take Marcos Mondaini out for a fishing trip at the lake.

    But seriously, we can’t have scrub nobodies breaking the legs of our leagues best players. Start penalizing the teams when this happens as well.

  52. DomiNate says:

    Oh, MLS. So many issues. I can handle the poor quality on the pitch, poor decision making with the ball, the fact that everyone plays boom-ball, even the terrible officiating, but the one thing I can’t tolerate is dirty play.

    This has been a league standard for a while now. If anything, these injuries are overdue. It sends a terrible message to quality players considering a move here.

    Slogan for 2011- “Come to MLS! We’ll end your career sooner than you think!”

    If Seattle didn’t have a team I wouldn’t even pay attention.

  53. fischy says:

    That ends that argument — just form the still, I’d say this was even more reckless than Mullan’s tackle on Zakuani.

  54. fischy says:

    The carnage must stop. Zakuani, Ferreira, Boskovic and now Morales.

    Why would a talented player come to MLS so a hack can chop him down and take years off his career?

    I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say the future of the league is riding on this. MLS has to come down on this stuff like the wrath of G-d. Players must be severely punished, and their teams should face some additional penalty — may be docked points, draft picks, or face a hefty, hefty fine.

  55. fischy says:

    Are you just joking?

    Or, are you seriously trying to distinguish between the ankle and the leg? Because a broken ankle sounds to me like a leg break. Though it’s at the ankle, it probably involves the fracture of one of the major leg bones either the tibia or the fibula, or both.

  56. georg says:

    Suspensions and fines need to keep increasing until hacks like Mondaini begin to reaalise rash tacklss are just not part of MLS. Give this guy 14 games and a $15,000 dollar fine and other players may start paying attention.

  57. RSL fan says:

    Mondaini gets beat by Javi, and he retaliates immediately by going through Javi’s ankle from the out to the inside with the ball a yard ahead of Morales. There was no intent to get the ball. The intent was to foul. When you intend to foul by deliberately kicking someones ankle and that action ends the kicked player’s season, there needs to be severe punishment.

    These types of senseless fouls have to stop. The foul on Zakuani was egregious. This foul is equally egregious for a different reason. The ban must be 10+ games. The reason it needs to be a 10+ ban is because Mondaini was on notice regarding punishment for terrible tackles. The next one, god hope, there isn’t should be even longer until these thugs and jokers aren’t ruining games and seasons.

    Ban Mondaini for the season.

  58. fischy says:

    By legal standards, “recklessness” is intent. It’s taking a deliberate action that is clearly dangerous, with total reckless disregard as to the consequences.

    It’s not the actual intent to injure, but it’s almost splitting hairs which is why that level of recklessness is often punished quite severely.

  59. jorge venez says:

    then ban mullan for the season too smartass.

  60. jorge venez says:


  61. UnionSean says:

    My goodness, that’s horrific! IMO, that’s worse than the Mullan/Zakuani incident as the challenge comes in from behind Morales.

    A terrible shame that three very talented and entertaining players are shelved due reckless and brainless tackles.

  62. rory says:

    Mondaini should be suspended until Steve Zakuani is able to play games again (that’s the standard you guys want from now on, how long it takes Zakuani to heal, right?)

  63. marco says:

    The MLS mindset is that the league is rough and tumble,
    a take no prisoners, clean sheets get you to the top, organization. You hear it from the clubs, the managers
    and the media. Garber needs to change it at the top not on the field.

  64. UnionSean says:

    Let that type of tackle happen at PPL Park and grievously injure a Union player, and you will have a riot happen. Refs need to control that match and MLS needs to hit the thugs in the wallet. Once is an accident, twice is a trend, three times means the Don needs to get his head out of the sand.

  65. charles says:

    +100 I’m really embarrassed of the MLS at the moment for this. Although I do think/hope the league is trying to address it.

  66. chg says:

    It’s crazy to me that the NFL and basketball do more to protect premier players than “non-contact” soccer. If a player tackles through from behind, the player should be suspended without pay, regardless of whether or not the offensive player is injured. If it happens frequently enough, people will get the message.

    Look how many opportunities there are in every NBA or college basketball game to undercut a guy in the air, and how defenders go out of their way to avoid doing it.

  67. Brent McD says:

    Just a week-and-a-half ago, MLS was jizzing over its feel-good moment of RSL playing for the CONCACAF championship (MLS 4 RSL, etc.) Morales is/was the best player on that team and a huge reason they got that far.

    Imagine if this incident had happened the week before the 2nd leg at Rio Tinto. Just saying

  68. chg says:

    Other sports (including football) do a much better job of policing dirty play, officially AND unofficially.

    A couple years ago, after a DL took a cheap shot at the QB in a high level college game, the entire OL “blocked” that defender on the next snap. They blocked him into the ground, and the message was received.

  69. Phillypride says:

    I can’t speak for RSL Fan, but I think Mondaini deserves a harsher punishment since he didn’t have any chance of getting the ball. It wasn’t even anything like a soccer play. He just threw himself into the back of Morales’s legs.

    link to

  70. BSkillz says:

    Is anyone else completely disturbed by clips of these tackles being played over and over? There is absolutely no reason for them to replay these clips, especially during national broadcasts.

  71. Magas says:

    Absolutely. (see my post above). It’s horrid
    and disturbing. It’s as if people are getting off on these gruesome images. Just a couple weeks ago MLS was in tears over Javi’s stunner in Monterrey. Today he is just another segment on the “world’s most shocking videos” or something.

  72. Andrew says:

    I totally agree with this. There is no need to replay this stuff. Once is more than enough. Quite frankly, hearing about it is more than enough.

  73. Matt says:

    I was at the game, they cut the feed to the big screen afterward, they knew it was bad and wouldn’t show it. MLS standards.

  74. socnow says:

    yet here you are talking about it

  75. socnow says:

    Exactly. So typically Seattle. Didn’t pay attention until MLS came to town, but ask them and Seattle customers invented everything good about soccer fan culture.

  76. Twentyyardsawayfromit says:

    I was also at the game, and the refereeing really needs to be looked at. This guy needs a suspension too. He had chances to control this game early…. i.e. Wingert on RSL probably could have been booked for a hard foul. Only gave a yellow for last man stopping a clear goal scoring opportunity.

    And the crem-de-la-crem. He initially only gave a yellow on this challenge only to change it to a red when he saw the reprecussions.

    This is the real problem that needs to be addressed.

    Followed by addressing it with the players in terms of “you fix this problem or you will not play in this league”. And since the league holds all contracts they could work that one out.

    Just my two cents.

  77. socnow says:

    I don’t know about comparing this with Ferreira tackle. But Zakuani? Yeah, I think this is in a similar ballpark. Mullan like suspension.

    RSL has depth and will still have a good season. But I’m still gutted for Morales anyway.

    That said, a lot of you are talking like this never happens in other leagues.

  78. Phil says:

    If he didn’t get a broken ankle…would anyone be having a problem with it? No, it would just be another play…I’m tired of hearing everyone whine and complain about all these tackles. I am not saying Mullan’s wasn’t malicous, but this one was just yellow card worthy, which is waht he got and it just happened to be his second. If the nakle wasn’t broken then we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it. I understand the leagues push on cleaning up play, but ot say this tackle deserves more than the typical red card suspension is just rediculous. It’s time to stop being so biased

  79. Goobx1 says:

    I’m tired too of these plays that should never happen ending players seasons. If Mondaini doesn’t retaliate for getting beat Javi doesn’t get his ankle broken. Yes these plays happen every game and most of the time nothing happens. No red card, especially if your name is Beckham, and no broken bones. The point is this needs to stop. Players making this decision and the Refs punishing those that continue.

    Maybe I am biased being an RSL fan but as a soccer fan I am disgusted that plays that never should have happened have ended the seasons of players that actually make the game exciting to watch.

    The whining and crying about how this is just a part of soccer and we need to shut up and enjoy the carnage I find offensive as a soccer fan.

    This play will continue. Seasons will continue to be ended because refs, like Ward yesterday, continue to not give red cards when warranted.

  80. twentyyardsawayfromit says:

    First of all, it was not a second yellow (check any game summary). And if you want some really gruesome still photos check out or both local papaers photographers got great shots of how bad of a two-footed tackle this was with one leg at the back of the knee and the other above the ankle. Not just some everyday run of the mill tackle. There is a reason the rule book mentions these type of tackles specifically in regard to straight red cards.

  81. Martin Blank says:

    Don’t blame that on Seattle.

  82. Matt says:

    Tackle from behind with no chance of getting the ball, that’s incredibly illegal ANYWHERE. WTF are you talking about?

  83. ELAC says:

    He should be deported that Argie bastard!

    Oh, wait.

    Prayers go out to Morales and the lynch mob in Salt Lake City.

  84. USAHammerFan says:

    i have a friend who works in the tv/replay booth at Rio Tinto. Their producer was yelling in their ears to immediately cut the picture so it wasn’t seen. I sit in seats right on the 18 on the side of the field this happened. Several people turned away until there were enough people around him so they couldn’t see. It was gross. Though, I have no problem with a few replays being shown. It does get overboard but really, if you don’t want to see it, when the replay starts turn away. After they show a couple replays and a couple angles they can stop and move on.

  85. Mental Assassin says:

    and your point?

  86. DomiNate says:

    You really should proof read things before you post them. Your comment makes no sense, not even on topic.

    I didn’t pay attention to what? Soccer? I attended three World Cups before Seattle had a team.

    Why did I go to those World Cups? Seattle has a soccer culture that I grew up in. Nothing was manufactured or invented, it’s been here since before I was born.

    The MLS has a serious problem on it’s hands. That is what you should focus on instead of taking a jab at Seattle.

  87. Vince Clortho says:

    It was a takedown foul to make up for the fact that he was beaten…Poor choice. Deserves suspension…