Major League Soccer described this “misconduct.” Others might call it dangerous. Inadvertent is also a reasonable possibility, but no matter how sympathetic you want to be to Víctor Bernárdez, the San Jose defender still stepped on an opponent twice on Saturday.
As a result, the Honduran’s last game before leaving for the World Cup will see him ineligible, with the MLS’s Disciplinary Committee handing Bernárdez a one-match suspension on Thursday. San Jose head coach Mark Watson will have to replace both Bernárdez and U.S. international Clarence Goodson this weekend at Seattle.
The foul came in the 62nd minute of the Earthquakes’ 2-1 win, with Bernárdez’s initial contact coming as his studs ran down David Texeira’s calf. After the Uruguayan went to ground, Bernárdez’s attempt to leap over the fallen attacker ended with a boot in the thigh. Chris Penso gave the former Defender of the Year a pass. The Disciplinary Committee did not.
I’m of two minds on this one. We hear “Studs up! Studs up!” so often that we think every time you see the bottom of a boot somebody should be tossed. Each foul is different, though. Some are more dangerous than others.
Was Bernárdez’s foul especially dangerous? No, but if MLS wants to be a league that says, “dangerous or not, you’re expected to avoid these situations,” I’m all for it. Perhaps that’s a bar that’s higher than we’ve seen in the past, but there is no real downside to forcing players to be more conscious of each others’ safety.
Then again, maybe Major League Soccer thought Bernárdez could have done more to avoid this; hence, “misconduct.”