Rafa Marquez wasn't suspended for this challenge from Saturday night, but breaking Shea Salinas' clavicle while defending a set piece did get the attention of the MLS Disciplinary Committee (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls).
It wasn't a question of if but for how long Major League Soccer would suspend New York Red Bulls centerback Rafa Marquez for his tackle and follow-up kick of San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Shea Salinas on Saturday night. Despite referee Ricardo Salazar missing the clear infraction during the run of play, MLS has taken a stern approach at retroactively disciplining players for reckless and dangerous play. In this instance, Shea Salinas' clavicle was broken and San Jose will be without their starting midfielder for an estimated six to eight weeks.
In his four games this season after coming back from a suspension that carried over from last year's playoff loss to the L.A. Galaxy, Marquez had mixed showings for New York ranging from pairing well with Dax McCarty against the Colorado Rapids to being pulled at halftime the next week against Montreal for ineffectiveness and an ailing groin.
Marquez had a tough run last season and despite rarely looking half-interested in being with the team himself, complained about being assigned to the back line and the level of play of his fellow center back, Tim Ream (who now happens to be holding his own for Bolton Wanderers in the English Premier League but that's a little beside that point). After missing two months from the team for the Gold Cup and recovering from an injury picked up in the tournament's final, Marquez won few supporters with his lackluster play and public criticism of Ream.
Now with Marquez suspended for three matches, New York is in a bit of a tight spot as Backe will have to manage injuries to midfielder Teemu Tainio, defenders Wilman Conde and Roy Miller, and ineffectiveness from Joel Lindpere and Markus Holgersson.
Do you think the suspension length is the right amount of time? Is Rafa Marquez a lost cause for New York?