In a rare afternoon game for Real Salt Lake, they were able to take advantage of a great opportunity by putting in a needed goal while playing much of the game up two men.
After battling the eight man Chivas USA defense for most of the second half, and after having multiple scoring chances fall away, Will Johnson finally punched in the only goal of the match for a 1-0 victory over the visitors.
While Real Salt Lake did get the win and was able to move to 15 points in just six matches, the news of the day was another major injury to an elite Major League Soccer player.
Playing down a man due to two yellow cards shown to teammate Andrew Boyens, Chivas forward Marcos Mondaini needlessly and recklessly tackled fellow Argentine Javier Morales after being beaten near the corner of the box. It appeared that as Morales planted to shoot, Mondaini slid into the back of his leg and ankle to break up the play.
Not only did he break up the play, he broke Morales’ ankle, and sent him to the bench for what looks to be the remainder of the season. Morales was immediately taken to the hospital for evaluation.
Following the match, Team Doctor Andrew Cooper joined the broadcast team on theKALL 700 post game show. In that interview he stated that the injury to Morales is being classified as a “Fracture, Dislocation.” He later explained that the bone near his ankle was broken, causing the ankle to dislocate.
He went on to say that the injury will most likely require surgery and that the earliest recovery time would be four months. Dr. Cooper was hopeful, however, that Morales could return to full fitness following healing and rehabilitation.
Following the match, Real Salt Lake players were happy with the result of the match, but were clearly affected and in tears over the injury.
Not that anyone can match the play-making ability of Morales, and to say that he will be missed is an understatement, but Head Coach Jason Kreis does have some options that he can use in coming matches.
Today’s goal scorer Will Johnson, Andy Williams, and young player Collen Warner could all see some time in the attacking mid-field position that is now vacated due to a needless foul.
Real Salt Lake plays three of their next four matches at home which may help them to figure out how to move forward without Morales.
It is now up to Major League Soccer to sort out the discipline of this foul, and to send a message to the league that this type of dangerous play will not be tolerated. One thought is that the player who ends the season of another on a play such as this should be suspended for as many games as the player who is injured.
While they have some decisions to make, this could be a pivotal time in the league to better ensure the safety of the game.
Real Salt Lake: Will Johnson 1 (First of season) 87′
Chivas: Andrew Boyens (Caution; Tactical Foul) 15′
Chivas: Andrew Boyens (Caution; Tactical Foul) 24′
Chivas: Andrew Boyens (Ejection; Second Caution) 24′
Chivas: Marcos Mondaini (Ejection; Serious Foul Play) 37′