It’s been a relatively quiet spring for Major League Soccer’s disciplinary committee. After last year’s active (and much-discussed) debut, the league’s council for retroactive punishment had relatively little to do this year, perhaps a sign that players were starting to adapt their behaviors. If your rough tackle has to get by a committee into addition to the match officials, perhaps you’ll find a way to clean up your act.
Last weekend, however, players decided to give the Disciplinary Committee some work, with four players earning suspensions from the D.C.:
- Mario De Luna had the most high-profile incident, shoving a ball boy late in Chivas USA’s 3-0 loss at Portland. As discussed here and elsewhere, the boy was actually in the right not to give the ball back to De Luna, not that that factored into this punishment. The ball boy could have been laughing in De Luna’s face, and if the Chivas defender lays hands on him, he’s going to get a suspension. Today’s was a one-game ban which, added to his yellow card accumulation suspension, means De Luna’s out until after Chivas’s May 25 visit to Colorado:
- Edson Buddle also picked up a one-game ban, now set to miss Colorado’s May 18 match against San Jose, after this frustration tackle on Tony Tchiani – the exact type of play this committee was assembled to discourage:
- Up in Vancouver, Johnny Leveron could have been sent off after this early tackle against Jose Villarreal – two legs, scissors, from behind, right in front of the official. And in that regard, Bruce Arena would be right to feel a bit aggrieved, as his team went on to lose at BC Place, 3-1. But after review, the `Caps defender will miss this weekend’s visit from Portland, set to serve a one-match ban:
- And finally, from this weekend in Montréal, where we may be seeing the Lenhart corollary coming into play. Last week, San Jose’s Steven Lenhart was banned after dragging his leg over an opponent’s head while going over a fallen man. This week, Real Salt Lake defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe gets a one-game suspension after his step over Marco Di Vaio ends with the Montréal attacker getting a leg to the head:
I love the language Major League Soccer uses for these last three incidents: “endangered the safety of his opponent.” It stresses a maxim that should never be far from a players’ minds: You are in part responsible for the safety of those around you. You’re not entitled to let competitive urges obscure the context of your actions. It’s a game, there are rules, none of which entitle you to risk another’s health.
Also of note, Commissioner Don Garber has reduced Marvin Chavez’s suspension from two games to one. The San Jose winger received a ban last week after his actions against Toronto FC, but with his punishment cut in half, Chavez is eligible to play this weekend against Colorado.
Real Madrid trails Barcelona by 10 points in the La Liga title race just 12 matches in, and now they will have to play catch-up without their best defender.
Club captain Sergio Ramos suffered a broken nose after being accidentally kicked in the face by teammate Lucas Hernandez during the first half of Madrid’s 0-0 draw with cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid. He received treatment and remained on the field, but he was withdrawn at halftime.
Manager Zinedine Zidane was unable to give a timetable for Ramos’s return.
Ramos said via Twitter, alongside some graphic images of his bloody nose, “I would bleed a thousand times for this badge and this shirt. Thanks for your support. I’ll be back in no time.”
Up next for Madrid is Champions League group match against Cypriot club Apoel midweek before a league game against Malaga at home. Athletic Bilbao and Borussia Dortmund are also on the horizon. A masked Sergio Ramos could be in our midst soon.
Real Madrid has not lost a league match without Ramos since March of 2015, but they drew their only game this season with Ramos suspended, a 2-2 home split with Valencia.
After his first game in charge of West Ham, David Moyes thought he had a better squad. Apparently he was mistaken.
A 2-0 loss to Watford gave Moyes a rude awakening as he looks to replace Slaven Bilic and pull the Hammers out of the relegation zone. He was not pleased with his players.
“Overall, that level of performance will not be good enough,” Moyes told reporters after the match.
He wasn’t done.
“I thought this was a big job, but there were some players with big reputations who disappointed me. There were some who I thought would show me more, and why they play for the team regularly. They need to show me, ‘If that’s your reputation, show me why you’ve got it.'”
He backtracked slightly, agreeing that the players are in a difficult position changing managers, but ultimately that excuse wasn’t enough for him. “It’s tough for the players – I could sense that – but I didn’t enjoy our performance in the end. I didn’t enjoy us giving the ball away too cheaply, too many times and I expected us to do better.”
Moyes even called out striker Andy Carroll, saying he removed the England international because he feared Carroll would pick up a second yellow card. Carroll had picked up his caution seven seconds into the match, leaving Marvin Zeegelaar with a bloody nose after an elbow to the face, something Carroll has been sent off for earlier this season.
“I thought we defended OK,” Moyes said, “but then we gave away cheap goals by getting bundled off the ball and we didn’t really deal with it. We didn’t do well enough in all departments at different times.”
That’s about as ruthless as you’ll ever hear the mild-mannered David Moyes, and all West Ham players should beware that their places in the team are in jeopardy.
Six-time Serie A defending champions Juventus are in trouble. Not a lot, but the heat has been turned up.
A wild 3-2 loss to Sampdoria means the Italian giants are now four points back of Napoli in the Serie A table, and heading into their Champions League matchup with Barcelona, there is plenty of soul-searching to do in Turin.
Juventus nearly mounted what would have been a monumental comeback, down 3-0 heading into stoppage-time but posting goals by Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala in the first and fourth minutes of injury time. It was not to be, and the four-point deficit through 13 games not only leaves Juventus looking at Napoli more than a game in front of them, but also over their shoulders at Roma and Inter Milan both a point behind in third and fourth.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was kept out of the lineup as he continues to deal emotionally with the World Cup miss, and it showed. After a scoreless first half at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Duzan Zapata beat Stephan Lichtensteiner in the air and sent a looping header over a flatfooted Wojciech Szczesny for the opening goal.
With 20 minutes to go, Sampdoria struck again as former Premier League creator Gaston Ramirez fed 21-year-old Lucas Torreira at the top of the box, and with nobody closing him down, he fired into the bottom-left corner of the net. They got the eventual winner nine minutes later after an embarrassing defensive breakdown by the visitors. A free-kick saw two attackers in front of net against five defenders, but somehow Gianmarco Ferrari was completely unmarked in front of the net for a tap-in.
Higuain struck from the penalty spot and Dybala hit on the counter to beat Emiliano Vivaldo at his near post, but it wasn’t enough for Juventus. The defensive frailty will need to be corrected moving forward, as they face a vital match at Napoli on December 1st, and a loss there could spell disaster for their title charge.
La Liga saw an American amongst its Starting XIs on Sunday.
Shaquell Moore made his first La Liga start in Levante’s 2-0 win at Las Palmas on Sunday.
According to WhoScored, Moore completed 71 percent of his passes, had three interceptions and four tackles won. He was credited with one key pass and three crosses.
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The right back turned 21 earlier this month, and our primitive research shows him as the first U.S. player to make a La Liga start since Oguchi Onyewu at Malaga in 2013.
Oddly enough, Sunday’s opposition had an American on the books last season with Emmanuel Sabbi skipped college soccer to join Las Palmas. Sabbi joined Danish side Hobro this summer, and made his first start on Friday.
Jozy Altidore spent time with Villarreal and Kasey Keller played for Rayo Vallecano.
Levante’s next match is Sunday at Real Sociedad.