Radamel Falcao Garcia

Falcao’s recovery should not be rushed due to the World Cup

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In January, Monaco forward Radamel Falcao went down injured after a heavy tackle during his side’s 3-0 win over Chasselay Monts d’or Azergues in the French Cup. Shortly thereafter, it was reported that the 27-year-old had torn his ACL and would have to undergo surgery. With a recovery time after ACL injury ranging from six to nine months, it looked almost certain that the Colombian would miss out on a trip to the 2014 World Cup.

After Falcao’s operation, however, his surgeon, Jose Carlos Noronha, stated that he believed the forward would be back much sooner than that. But is rushing the return of Colombia’s star striker really such a great idea? In a word, no.

It is selfish for anyone (be it a surgeon, a fan, let alone an entire nation) to put so much pressure on a single player that suffered a devastating injury, no matter how good he might be. Yes, he might play in the World Cup, but even if he does his role would probably be limited and not as impactful as it otherwise might be if he was fully healthy.

Roberto Baggio, Italy’s version of Falcao in the 1990s (and then some) should be the Colombian forward’s inspiration and guiding light. Baggio tore his ACL on January 31, 2002 and recovered in just 77 days, a feat made that much more amazing by the fact that he was 35 years old (yes, you read that right) at the time. Ironically, all that effort didn’t mean a fourth World Cup stint for Baggio, who was left off the 23-man roster by Cesare Maldini.

Colombia, and Monaco for that matter, should take no chances following such a major injury. Even with plenty of recovery time, knee injuries have a way of coming back to haunt players. We recently saw Stu Holden, who tore his ACL back in July, pick up yet another serious injury while trying to ease his way back into competition, playing with Bolton’s U21 side. And then there’s Giuseppe Rossi, who notched 14 goals in 18 appearances for Fiorentina this season, only for doctors to find further damage to his ACL in January.

Yes, Colombia were pegged as dark horses for the World Cup, mostly due to Falcao’s performances up top. But to rush him back to fitness in time for the tournament may compromise his long-term abilities. At his age, Falcao has at least four or five good years left in him. But a botched recovery could very well mean the end of his career instead.

For more on why Falcao shouldn’t be rushed to recovery, visit Soccerly.

MLS Snapshot: FC Dallas 4-1 Houston Dynamo

CHESTER, PA - MARCH 21: Tesho Akindele #13 of FC Dallas celebrates his second half goal with his teammates against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on March 21, 2015 in Chester, Pennsylvania. Dallas won 2-0. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): FC Dallas completed the season sweep over their in-state rivals, defeating the Houston Dynamo 3-1 tonight at Toyota Stadium. Dallas won all three meetings between the two clubs, outscoring Houston 10-2 in the process. David Texeira scored a brace for the home side today, who sit atop the Western Conference, tied with the Galaxy on points. Houston remains three points behind Portland and San Jose for the final playoff spot in the West. Raul Rodriguez picked up a late red card for the Dynamo, and will be suspended for the rest of the season.

[ RELATED: What we learned from Arsenal’s win over Manchester United ]

Three moments that mattered

25′ — Mauro Diaz penalty puts Dallas ahead — Rasheed Olabiyi took down the shifty Fabian Catillo in the box, giving FC Dallas a penalty kick. Mauro Diaz stepped up to the spot and slotted it home, giving the home side a lead.

51′ — Texeira scores on a long-range strike — Ricardo Clark had drawn Houston level in the first half, but David Texeira put Dallas back ahead right after the break. Texeira picked up the ball about 25 yards out and rifled a shot off the crossbar and in, a beautiful strike from Uruguayan.

53′ — Acosta wastes no time to make it 3-1 — Immediately after Texeira had given Dallas the lead, Kellyn Acosta scored to make it 3-1. Fabian Castillo rolled a pass into the box, where Acosta buried it into the top corner.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: David Texeira

Goalscorers: Diaz (PEN, 25′), Clark (36′). Texeira (51′, 90’+3′), Acosta (53′)

Red card: Rodriguez (89′)

La Liga & Serie A roundup: Villarreal suffers first loss

Michal Duris, Eric Bailly
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Catch up on all of this weekend’s action from Spain and Italy’s top flights.

Levante 1-0 Villarreal

Villarreal suffered its first loss of the La Liga season, falling 1-0 away to Levante. Levante entered the match without a win, but were able to take advantage of the league leaders, who were forced to play most of the match with ten men after Bojan Jokic was sent off in the first half. Despite playing a man down, Villarreal nearly held on for a draw, but Deyverson scored in the 83rd minute to give Levante the upset win.

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Real MadridMORE

Real failed to capitalize on Villarreal’s loss, as an early season Madrid derby ended in a 1-1 draw. Karim Benzema’s stellar form continued as the French striker put Real ahead early in the match, but Luciano Vietto equalized with less than ten minutes to play for Atleti. Real Madrid sits second in the league, one point behind Villarreal.

[ MORE: Saturday’s La Liga roundup ]

Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Valencia

After a big win over Lyon in the Champions League, Valencia fell 3-1 to Athletic Bilbao in La Liga play. Dani Parejo gave Valencia the lead 20 minutes in, but Athletic responded with three unanswered goals to earn a win for Ernesto Valverde’s men.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Rayo 0-2 Real Betis
Celta Vigo 0-0 Getafe
Sevilla 2-1 Barcelona
Espanyol 1-2 Sporting Gijon
Malaga 3-1 Real Sociedad
Granada 1-1 Deportivo
Las Palmas 0-2 Eibar

AC Milan 0-4 Napoli

Napoli traveled to the San Siro and got a massive win, thrashing AC Milan by four goals. Lorenzo Insigne continues to score for Napoli, as the striker bagged a brace for his side, who have now won three straight in Serie A. The loss was Milan’s first dropped points at home this season, as the Rossoneri have been shutout in consecutive matches.

[ RELATED: Zlatan becomes PSG’s all-time leading goalscorer ]

Juventus 3-1 Bologna

Juventus followed up a win in the Champions League over Sevilla with a win in Serie A over Bologna, who have lost six of seven matches to open the season. Alvaro Morata scored again for Juve, while Sami Khedira also got on the scoresheet, the German’s first goal for his new club. The result was just the second league win of the season for Juventus, who move up to 12th on the table.

Sampdoria 1-1 Inter Milan

After opening the season with five straight victories, Inter Milan is now winless in two after drawing away to Sampdoria. On the heels of a loss to Fiorentina, Inter fell behind to Sampdoria after Luis Muriel put the hosts ahead. However, Inter grabbed a point through Ivan Perisic, who scored his first goal for the club since joining from Wolfsburg this summer.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Carpi 2-1 Torino
Chievo 1-1 Verona
Empoli 1-0 Sassuolo
Palermo 2-4 Roma
Lazio 2-0 Frosinone
Fiorentina 3-0 Atalanta
Udinese 1-1 Genoa