MLS announced the looming suspension of LA Galaxy defender Derrick Williams on Friday, with the player set to be banned an additional five games of the MLS regular season.
Williams received a straight red card just before halftime of the Galaxy’s 3-0 loss to the Portland Timbers on May 22 following his horror tackle on Timbers winger Andy Polo. The foul looked bad live, on replay and Polo ended up requiring season-ending surgery for injuries sustained to both his knee and quad, something that is pretty unusual in this sport.
It should be noted that Williams did not appear to try and hurt Polo, and he did not contest the red card in the moment, and LA head coach Greg Vanney agreed that the tackle was too harsh and deserved the red card. It should also be noted that Williams has been subject to racist abuse and death threats on social media, which is certainly not called for, no matter how bad the tackle was.
An extra five-game suspension is at the high end of what MLS tends to give for horror tackles. In recent years, they’ve tended to go for one- or two-game bans beyond the red card suspension itself, but dating back to 2011 they did ramp up bans in response to a spate of season-ending injuries on bad tackles. The longest ban in MLS history was 10 games (nine on top of the red-card ban) to Brian Mullan for a retaliatory tackle on Steve Zakuani that year, and Marcos Mondaini got four games for breaking Javier Morales’ ankle the same season.
Logistically, because the Galaxy are currently on a break along with the rest of MLS during the June international window, Williams’ time off the field will stretch pretty far, all the way through the July 7 game against FC Dallas. Hopefully he can clear his mind, stay fit and be ready for when his name is called again.
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