Ordinarily, Saturday’s emotional happening inside CenturyLink Field would be the league’s national headline maker.
But MLS Round 6 is overloaded with sweet storylines. There’s Real Salt Lake’s meeting with Sporting Kansas City, a clash of teams with just one loss between them. And there’s New York’s meeting with San Jose, a match that features three of the league’s top four scorers.
But a meeting Saturday in Seattle runs deep in history and a certain amount of emotional scarring – plus actual physical scarring.
This marks the first time Brian Mullan has played in Seattle since one of the most notorious incidents in the league’s 17 years. Last April, Mullan shattered Steve Zakuani’s leg with a menacing tackle. Seattle’s promising young winger has yet to get back on the field in a competitive match.
Mullan, who was deeply affected by the incident, isn’t speaking publicly about it this week, although he did issue a statement through his club earlier this week. Sounders manager Sigi Schmid says both players must deal with this in their own way.
Zakuani, meanwhile, sounds like a man ready to forgive and move on. From the story on MLSSoccer.com:
I spoke to him already,” Zakuani said. “I’ve known he was remorseful. The only thing I didn’t like was his initial comment after the game and to be fair, he said he didn’t know the injury was that bad. Other than that, I think he understands what it cost me. I have a massive scar on my leg.”
There’s more from Zakuani and his prolonged quest to return here, from the Seattle Times.
Seattle’s passionate fans? Tough to say how they’ll react.
Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.
Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.
The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.
[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]
Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.
Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.
LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.
The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.
Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.
Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.
Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]
Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]
Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]
ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned Colombia midfielder Edwin Cardona for five matches for making a discriminatory gesture with his eyes toward a South Korean opponent.
FIFA will allow Cardona to serve the ban in friendly games, so he should be available for Colombia’s World Cup opener against Japan on June 19.
[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]
Cardona has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,150) because of the incident last month in a friendly in Seoul.
Cardona apologized at the time, saying he “didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry.”
Spurs finally got a bit of good news this weekend with a blowout of Stoke City.
That was a followed by a tough draw against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League, and bad news on an old injury.
[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]
Center back Toby Alderweireld is going to be gone into February, extending his time on the sidelines with a hamstring injury suffered Nov. 1 against Real Madrid.
Spurs were 6-2-2 in league when Alderweireld went down, and are just 2-2-2 since the injury. The Belgian has missed losses at Arsenal and Leicester, draws against Watford and West Brom, and wins over Crystal Palace and Stoke.
Tottenham did win both of its UCL matches since the injury.