Brian Mullan Receives 10-Game Supsension, Plus $5,000 Fine For Tackle On Steve Zakuani

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Brian Mullan Suspended 10 Games For Tackle On Steve Zakuani

The Major League Soccer Disciplinary Committee today suspended Colorado Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan for his tackle on Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Steve Zakuani in the 3rd minute of last Friday's game. Mullan received a red card for the challenge, which resulted in the breaking of Zakuani's right tibia and fibula.     

The Disciplinary Committee determined that Mullan's challenge was reckless, egregious, and showed utter disregard for the safety of his opponent. Mullan will be suspended for a total of 10 games and fined a total of $5,000, including the automatic one-game suspension and $250 fine for receiving a red card.

Seeing MLS put the hammer down on a challenge like this shows that they are willing to make a statement in regards to reckless challenges like this one. A 10-game suspension is a big deal as that takes up about a third of the season here. This marks the second time in league history that the Disciplinary Committee has handed a 10-game suspension. The first time it was handed out was to former Houston Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark for kicking Carlos Ruiz while he was on the ground. 

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Aurelien Collin's Suspension Rescinded

While many around Major League Soccer are waiting to hear about what happens to Brian Mullanone club learned that they will have a player available for Saturday

Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday that U.S. Soccer has rescinded the mandatory one-game suspension resulting from the red card Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin received in the 76th minute of Sporting's 3-2 loss at the New England Revolution this past weekend.    

Collin will be available for Saturday's match at the New York Red Bulls

The following statement was issued to the clubs today:

"US Soccer reviewed the red card issued to A. Collin and determined that the incident was a case of mistaken identity with B. Diop.  As a result A. Collin will no longer be suspended for the next league match. The MLS Disciplinary Committee reviewed the play and ruled that no sanctions against B. Diop were warranted.  Therefore, both B. Diop and A. Collin are eligible to play in their next match against New York Red Bull."

Collin was listed as "striking an opponent" in an altercation with New England goalkeeper Matt Ries. Sporting went on to lose the match 3-2.

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MLS Only Makes Things Worse By Questioning Tony Tchani's Ejection - Waking The Red

A referee's job is never easy. Many rules seem to contradictory and there is lots of room for interpretation on almost all of them. Tony Tchani's second yellow card was one such example and Waking the Red, SB Nation's Toronto FC blog, actually thought referee David Gantar got the decision right and is worried that MLS's second guessing of him is only going to make things worse:

I actually feel bad for Gantar. He didn't have a great game by any means, but on this incident, in only his third MLS game, he followed the rules and now the league is coming down on him telling him he got it wrong. Where are referees supposed to draw the line? Tchani left the pitch and jumped on a railing to be able to hug some of the fans, how far would he have had to go for it to be considered worthy of a yellow card? That's something that supporters, players and coaches would probably never agree on, and maybe there should be a way for it to be flexible, but surely the league should be standing behind the refs they use when they're calling things by Fifa's, and thus the leagues book.

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Sporting KC To Appeal Aurelien Collin's Suspension

In light of all the reviewing that MLS and it's disciplinary committee will be doing over the next day or so, one club is going in the direction of appealing for one of it's players's suspension to be overturned. Sporting Kansas City will appeal the red-card suspension for defender Aurelien Collin, who was ejected from Saturday night's game after an altercation with New England Revolution's goalkeeper Matt Reis.

The Kansas City Star is reporting this morning that Sporting is appealing for the red-card suspension to be taken away under the notion of mistaken identity

The card came after a hard but legal challenge by Collin on Reis. While both players were on the ground, teammates of both flocked to them as they were laying on the ground. As Collin stood up with some help from a teammate Biraham Diop, New England midfielder Benny Feilhaber came in and was pushed Diop. 

Collin was then issued the red card. He was already carrying a yellow card from earlier in the game. 

 

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MLS Reviewing Several Weekend Incidents, Including Brian Mullan's Tackle Of Steve Zakuani

Three incidents this weekend are likely to draw further looks from MLS, although they can only do something about two of them. This weekend, Brian Mullan drew a red card for his tackle that broke Steve Zakuani's leg, Jonathan Leathers escaped any in-game punishment for his tackle that broke David Ferreira's ankle and Tony Tchani drew a second yellow card for entering the stands to celebrate with fans. All three are now drawing some scrutiny from the MLS office.

In Mullan's tackle on Zakuani, these guidelines from the MLS Disciplinary Committee's parameters come into play:

Where the referee sees an incident and issues a red card, the Committee may review the play for further disciplinary action, over and above the mandatory suspension and fine. The Committee will add suspensions and/or fines over and above the mandatory one game suspension for those offenses the Committee deems to be of an egregious or reckless nature, or where the Committee believes it must act to protect player safety or the integrity of the game, including in particular but without limitation to contact above the shoulders through the dangerous use of elbows, forearms or fists.

Although Mullan was shown red, the awful challenge didn't just injure Zakuani. It was reckless and with little intent to win the ball. Based on that, Mullan will almost undoubtedly see further suspension from the disciplinary committee. The ruling from the league is expected to come down on Tuesday.

As for Leathers, he did not see a card for his tackle on Ferreira. That does not mean that the Committee cannot review it though.

Where the referee sees an incident and either does not act, or rules only a foul or only a yellow card (i.e., anything other than a red card), the Committee will not in general issue a suspension, unless: The play in question is, in the unanimous opinion of the Committee from all available video evidence, a clear and unequivocal red card; AND The play in question is of an egregious or reckless nature, such that the Committee must act to protect player safety or the integrity of the game. − In determining whether a play is egregious or reckless, all factors are taken into account, including the fact of injury to any player. Where there is no injury, the Committee will not act except in extraordinary or exceptional circumstances.

Because Leathers' tackle did break Ferreira's ankle, it seems highly likely that the play will at least be reviewed. But it seems unlikely that there will be any disciplinary action. Leathers' tackle did not draw a card for good reason. It was a clean tackle. There was nothing in it that would lead anyone to believe it was malicious and he did win the ball. It was an unfortunate incident because Ferreira's foot was planted and got caught, but that is the nature of the sport at times. There has not been the same kind of outcry surrounding Ferreira's injury, partly because there wasn't anything poor in the tackle besides bad luck.

In a week where tackles and further disciplinary action are the topic of conversation there is another incident that has nothing to do with tackles or injuries and yet the issues is revoking disciplinary action. Tchani was shown his second yellow card and sent off for jumping a fence and celebrating his goal with the home fans, a celebration that the referee deemed impermissible. 

Paul Tamberino, MLS's director of competition told the Canadian Press on Monday that Tchani should not have been shown a card for his celebration, saying "In my opinion, the referee could have used better judgment." When asked about whether he should have seen a card, Tamberino said, "I don't, no. I absolutely do not. ... It didn't do anything that would hurt the game."

The rules stipulate that a player should be shown a yellow card for celebration if he climbs a fence to celebrate, but that is aimed at other parts of the world where high fences separate the crowd from the field and players might climb it to incite the fans. The rules also state that a player should see a yellow card if he leaves the field of play to celebrate AND does not return to the field of play as soon as possible.

Tchani certainly left the field of play, but he returned quickly and Tamberino also said that the leaving the field of play rule should have have applied to Tchani.

"It's ironic that from the time Tony scores the goal and returns back to the field, it's 15 seconds," Tamberino said. "It takes the referee 40 seconds to administer the second yellow card."

Unfortunately for Tchani and Toronto FC, the midfielder will still have to sit out the next match as part of his yellow card suspension. According to Tamberino, the rules only allow for red cards to be rescinded in the case of mistaken identity so despite being an acknowledged mistake, the Committee cannot take action.

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