Fleshing out the Rafa Marquez suspension

Leave a comment

Major League Soccer’s disciplinary committee has suspended Rafael Marquez for three games. Quick hits on where the story goes from here:

I had guessed two games. He got three, and I don’t have a big problem with the length. If it had gone the other way (just one) the typing fingers of semi-outrage would have been flying. But two or three – more or less the same in my mind. Justice is served here.

I know some people believe Marquez deserved more; I’ll have more later on why I think the punishment is about right.

The disciplinary committee ruled that Marquez “tackled, fell on and kicked his opponent.” Marquez having done essentially the same thing on the previous San Jose corner kick probably removed any doubt in the five-member committee’s mind that this was some sort of clumsy accident.

It probably would have been one game or possibly two, but Marquez’s splotchy disciplinary history matters in this case. And if history wasn’t enough to warrent a third match, that kick at the end with Marquez’s right boot surely sealed the deal

The matches Marquez will miss:

  • Saturday at D.C. United
  • April 28, at home to New England
  • May 5 at Los Angeles Galaxy

Two of those matches (the games on the road) are ESPN contests, so the network partners won’t be happy with that. (And let this be a lesson to all conspiracy theorists; the disciplinary committee is clearly NOT in cahoots with the league’s broadcast partners.)

Given D.C. United’s injuries along the back line (expansion Montreal gave them problems last night), Saturday’s match was there for the taking. It still is, considering Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper’s splendid form – but swiping all the points just got tougher.

Finally, the disciplinary committee’s busy here, in capsule:

  • Colin Clark: three games (plus fine) for using a homophobic slur on the field
  • Adam Moffat: one game for a reckless challenge
  • Alvaro Fernandez: fined for embellishment of contact
  • Brandon McDonald: one game (plus fine) for a reckless challenge
  • Jair Benitez: one game (plus fine) for violent conduct
  • Atiba Harris: one game (plus fine) for violent conduct
  • Danny Cruz: fined for embellishment of contact
  • Shalrie Joseph: one game (plus fine) for  a reckless challenge
  • Marvin Chavez: one game (plus fine) for  a reckless challenge
  • Rafa Marquez: three games for violent conduct 

MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker

Getty Images
Leave a comment

For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.

[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]

This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.

But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.

Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:

(more…)

Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

[ MORE: Bundesliga scores ]

“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Pele hospitalized overnight in Brazil

Getty Images
1 Comment

The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”

Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.

“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”

Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.

[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]

USMNT centerback Carter-Vickers heads to Ipswich Town on loan

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Cameron Carter-Vickers has a new club to call home for the next five months or so after a rough first half of the season.

Tottenham announced Friday morning that it had loaned the U.S. Men’s National Team centerback to Championship club Ipswich Town for the rest of the season. Carter-Vickers spent the first five months of the season at fellow Championship side Sheffield United, starting 17 times though he struggled recently as Sheffield won just one game he played in during the month of December, losing three and drawing one.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Carter-Vickers was then recalled earlier this week and now has a new home with a mid-table Championship club, with a new chance to impress. Hopefully Carter-Vickers can recover his form and continue to grow, potentially latching on to another Premier League side next year or breaking into the Tottenham first team.

There’s another interesting American tie-in to this. Carter-Vickers appears to be a short-term replacement for Ipswich Town’s Tommy Smith, who the club states is headed to join the Colorado Rapids ahead of the 2018 MLS season.