The Brian Mullan-Steve Zakuani ugliness was easily the big weekend story of Major League Soccer's 6th round. On any other weekend, the reigning league MVP going down to injury would gain a bigger share of the conversation. Like everyone else, I write a lot about that in my weekend review at SI.com. (Now posted here.)
But don’t let the imbalance fool you; David Ferreira’s injury is a huge blow to Dallas and looming factor in the Western Conference race.
Ferreira suffered an ankle fracture Saturday at Vancouver. We’ll have a better prognosis this week, but he’s clearly going to miss significant time, even in the best-case scenario.
The league runner-up are off to a slow start as it is, mostly due to losing three starters to trade or to the expansion draft. This is going to be a crushing setback to the rally efforts at Pizza Hut Park.
Clearly Ferreira is critical to the FC Dallas offense. Anyone who has watched his combination of wily positioning, his calm ability to maintain possession in tight spaces and those passes that so frequently tear apart defenses knows how important he is to Schellas Hyndman’s team.
But, honestly, you don’t have to be a Frisco regular to understand what this loss could do to Dallas’ offense. You just have to look at the numbers.
The Colombian playmaker has scored or assisted on half of Dallas' eight goals this year. Dallas had one win before Saturday, and Ferreira scored twice in that contest. Even on Saturday, in Dallas’ second win, he managed to have an impact before being stretchered off: Ferreira earned the corner kick that led to Dallas’ equalizer in the 2-1 win at Empire Field.
Last year, Ferreira scored or assisted on half of Dallas’ 42 goals. So, the simple math looks like this: their playmaker has directly created of scored half the team’s goals since 2009. Show me a team that takes half its offensive production off the field, and I’ll show you a team that’s got tough times ahead.
This needs to be addressed, too: No one is talking much about Jonathan Leathers’ culpability here. This was no Mullan-type incident. It wasn’t nearly so egregious.
But Leathers did swipe at Ferreira from behind. At the very least, it’s a foul. Only it wasn’t, not in referee’s Juan Guzman’s eyes, anyway. It probably should have been a caution. But if it’s not even a foul, it certainly isn’t going to be a caution.
We would be talking more about Leathers and the foul except for this: it’s an action that we see each and every week in MLS, all too often without comment. Alas, it’s more or less par for the course in this league.