By Ryan Fleming
To start off my MLS thoughts of the weekend, I won’t mention the dribbling circus that Thierry Henry busted out on Saturday night against Los Angeles. Yes, impressive. Not, great enough to mention, especially since it didn’t result in a scoring chance.
1. The issue of terrible tackling needs to be, well, tackled in the MLS. After one of the most gifted players in the league, Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales, suffered a horrific injury from a similar silly tackle that downed Seattle’s Steve Zakuani, the league has a perfect opportunity to make a statement. The nine-game sentence handed down to Colorado’s Brian Mullan after his ruthless tackle ended Zakuani’s season, should also be slapped on Marcos Mondaini’s tackle on Morales.
Despite what RSL’s Will Johnson says, that the league should hold in their mind the fact that Morales is a MLS standout when giving the sentence, should ultimately not matter. It doesn’t matter if Beckham got injured, Landon Donovan, or if I were to play in the league. I would want equal treatment for all players despite their ability.
(Video Warning: not for the faint of heart. This is pretty gruesome.)
2. Over the weekend the MLS Players Union released its 2011 report on player salaries. The theory behind the release is that next year, the players can use the numbers to supposedly get a better salary – based on their performance, of course. A few numbers that quickly jump out at me: Joel Lindpere: 90k, Kheli Dube: 90k, Ilija Stolica: 220k, Neery Castillo: 2m-plus.
With my New England-based knowledge I picked out Stolica and Dube, both exuberantly paid. Stolica, who has only made only 16 appearances for the Revs first team and was most recently loaned to USL side FC New York, can as of now be dubbed a poor signing. Dube on the other hand is getting paid way too much for a player who continues to be a disappointment on the field. Previously up for the 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year, Dube’s career continues it’s slow decline. If a player like Juan Agudelo is getting paid $85,000 then Dube’s compensation is through the roof.
I highlight Joel Lindpere because I believe for $90k, Lindpere presents a steal. As arguably the Red Bulls’ best playmaker, he portrays the talents of a player who could be getting $150,000-plus a year. Tim Ream, also notable, makes a meek $62,625.
Neery Castillo is another interesting scenario. I’m pointing him out so I can point at the Chicago Fire and laugh … from Massachusetts. The Fire are paying the Mexican winger $2m to play in Greece. For a player of Castillo’s caliber, it is one thing to have produce for another club, but to pay a substantial fee on top of that is simply ludicrous.
3. Apparently the MLS came out with their own trading cards. Why?
Who is going to buy these cards? Gas is at an all-time high and people are still starving for cash while college students become graduates all over the nation these next few weeks. Money will be spent elsewhere. The MLS should concentrate on getting their attendance up rather than come out with a novelty item that will surely fail.
Ryan Fleming can be reached at Ryan.Fleming@thesoccerguysonline.com.