Real Salt Lake reacts to horrific injury

Published: Saturday, April 23 2011 9:13 p.m. MDT

Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan, bottom, upended Seattle midfielder Steve Zakuani, causing a serious injury Friday.

Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

LEHI — Andy Williams said he couldn't bear to watch.

Just three minutes into the Seattle-Colorado match on Friday night, Colorado's Brian Mullan snapped both the tibia and fibula of Seattle's Steve Zakuani with a violent retaliation tackle at midfield.

Williams was watching the match on TV, but said he couldn't watch any of the numerous replays shown.

"Brian just went in over his head and took it too far. I know he was trying to win the ball, but it was only three minutes in. Making tackles like that, it's pretty tough," said Williams, who added it was the worst injury he's ever seen in MLS. "It was pretty awful."

Following RSL's training session at Xango Field on Saturday, coach Jason Kreis was asked what he thought about the incident. He admitted he hadn't seen the injury yet, but had definitely heard a lot about it. Never one to shy away from making his opinions known, Kreis said he hopes the incident spawns some tangible changes in the league.

"I would like to see the players take some accountability within themselves," he said. "I know it's done over in England where the players union will have sanctions and look very, very harshly among themselves, because they've got to treat each other with the proper amount of respect and the proper amount of professionalism."

"If it was anything like everybody is saying it was, I hope there are strong, strong sanctions, and not only from the league, but I'd like to see the players union consider sanctioning themselves as well," said Kreis.

A large fine and suspension could come down today for Mullan. Back in 2007 former Houston midfielder Ricardo Clark — a teammate of Mullan's at the time — was suspended for nine games for intentionally kicking former Dallas player Carlos Ruiz.

Mullan addressed the media after the match on Friday and apologized, though admitting it's a tackle he's made many times.

"I'm sorry for Steve (Zakuani). It was never my intention to injure him in the least. It's a tackle that I've done hundreds of times and would probably do again. I had no intention of hurting him. It's a freak, freak thing, and I apologize and wish Steve a speedy recovery."

DEFINITELY A PAIN: RSL midfielder Will Johnson said that playing with a cast on his left thumb in last Wednesday's Champions League game in Monterrey was a bit challenging.

"It was OK. It's just awkward, you don't have your full running motion because when you start moving it the bones hurt a little bit," said Johnson, who added he just tried to block it out mentally as best he could.

Johnson broke the thumb on the road at New England a couple weeks ago after crashing into the advertising field boards in front of the benches.

"I didn't hold me back or anything. It's just uncomfortable and not something I really want to have to deal with, but I have to," he said.

GRADUAL CONTRIBUTION: Nine games into the 2011 season, RSL newcomer Arturo Alvarez has made just one start and appeared in four other games as a substitute.

It hasn't been the splash he might've hoped for, but he's coming off his best moment of the young season as he assisted on Javier Morales' 89th-minute tying goal last weekend.

"I'm happy to be on this team. Obviously as a player you want to be playing. Everybody comes in and does their job, works hard in practice, but at the end of the day there's only 11 guys who can be in there," said Alvarez, who started 19 games with San Jose last year. "At this moment I'm just taking advantage of any opportunity I can get, I'm going to come in and play my game, enjoy myself and have fun."

BIGGEST GOAL EVER: Following his tying goal last Wednesday, Morales was asked if it was the biggest goal he'd ever scored.

"I hope not," he joked.

He quickly admitted that indeed it was the biggest goal he'd ever scored.

RIO TINTO RED OUT: Nick Rimando is on a social media mission to get every Real Salt Lake fan to wear red this Wednesday. He posted it on his Twitter account on Friday night, and hopes fans will spread the word.

CCL championship

Real Salt Lake vs Monterrey

First leg

RSL 2, Monterrey 2 Second leg

Wednesday, 8 p.m. at Sandy

Email: jedward@desnews.com

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