WPS faces first controversy with Wambach-Daniela tackle

WambachDaniela (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                         Photo by ISIphotos.com

 

By CHRISTA MANN

For a league that is just over six weeks into its inaugural season, Womens Professional Soccer now faces its first big controversy.

After a slide tackle by The Washington Freedom's Abby Wambach injured Daniela of the St. Louis Athletica, news that the Brazilian native suffered a crack in her tibia and damaged two knee ligaments, and is likely out for the season, is drawing a lot attention.

With both clubs trying to decide how much information to share or how much access they want to grant to the media, all parties erred on the side of caution.

Below are highlights from the game for another look at the injury


Find more videos like this on Women's Professional Soccer

In response to many of your comments and to the information that was released on Tuesday, here are my thoughts on the incident:

In a game that was becoming extremely physical, each team had its fair share of hard tackles and questionable plays.  Do I think it was a terrible foul?  Yes, of course!  Do I think that there should have been more control over the game especially with two physical teams and very wet conditions?  Absolutely.

As for the specific incident in question, Daniela's first touch got away from her and Wambach made a poor decision to slide tackle the way she did.

It is likely that Wambach may have meant for it to be an enforcing tackle; however, there is definitely a line between sending a message and injuring an opponent. Certainly her intent was to go in hard, but it's doubtful that she would have ever meant to severely injure the Brazilian attacker or any other player for that matter. 

Following the weekend, neither team thought that it would be a good idea to speak out on it right away.  If the league could have somehow set up some type of press conference (even if had to be web streamed), Commisioner Tonya Antonucci, the St. Louis Athletica, and the Washington Freedom would have all had an opportunity to addressed the situation properly and more effectively. 

Without a comment from the commissioner, fans have no idea how she feels about the whole situation.  Not that she needs to make an amazing statement or explanation, but I think that everyone would appreciate some acknowledgment of the event along with a brief explanation as to why there will or won't be any repercussions.

It's not so much that anyone has make this a huge ordeal, but a statement from the highest official would more or less just to ease some of the tension.

Personally, I am opposed to suspending any players because that type of play occurred throughout the entire game. Had there not already been some serious physical contact, my thoughts may be different.

I believe that this unfortunate situation serves as a lesson learned.  Intensity is a vital part of the game and it is not going away. There just simply needs to be a boundary placed between playing hard and playing recklessly. With  some key examples of both displayed in this game, officials and the WPS should set the boundaries and abide by them without fail.  I'm not calling for any rule changes, just saying that there needs to be a little more awareness and control over the game.

There have not been any other problems across the league with teams getting out of hand, so maybe this is simply a one-time situation that serves as an example.

For now, St. Louis has posted a write-up of the injury and Washington has only allowed Wambach to put together a statement.  Both sides played it very safe and prefer not to comment any further or in any greater detail.

This is what Wambach had to say:

___________

"In regards to the injury Daniela sustained during our game, the thing I need to convey most is how hard it is for a player who has sustained a significant injury in the past year to now be on the other side of it,” Wambach said. “It’s been crucial for me to find out exactly what injuries Daniela has sustained because of how important I know she is to the Saint Louis franchise. I’ve been in contact with a close friend on the team to stay updated. Unfortunately soccer is a physical game and players do get injured. There was no intent on my side to cause any harm. I wish Daniela nothing but the speediest of recoveries. My thoughts and prayers are with her.”

___________

As the U.S. national team player remembers her own injury (a broken leg before last summer's Olympics) and shows her compassion, the only thing that stands out is the fact that there is no official apology.  We can only believe that she has offered the "I'm sorry" many, many times already but why not do it officially? 

As for how the St. Louis Athletica will cope, Head Coach Jorge Barcellos said, “It is a great loss to the team who were getting accustomed to playing with Daniela.  We are going to have to restructure how our team is set up and our whole team will have to step up.”

After some controversy stirred things up in the WPS, how do you feel the league handled it? Who will replace Daniela's void for St. Louis?  Has there been any other physical play amongst other teams that stands out to you? 

Share your thoughts below.

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66 Responses to WPS faces first controversy with Wambach-Daniela tackle

  1. ag nigrin says:

    Thanks for sharing this Christa! Wasn’t Abby put out of commission prior to the last World Cup by a Brazilian (maybe Daniela)? Could this have been a revenge tackle?

  2. Aljarov says:

    You know, I don’t think the tackle looks bad at all.

    Daniela has a bad touch and leaves her weight on the wrong foot. Wambach comes in and clatters her, but nothing too bad at all. Had Daniela not have taken the bad touch it likely wouldn’t have happened.

    I know MLS, and maybe WPS will be the same, they have a habit of looking at the end result – IE a broken leg – and concluding something bad must have happened. It didn’t, not in my eyes.

  3. MVK says:

    wtf is she doing going to the ground in that situation? its a kick off, pressure and step in…

  4. Fid says:

    That wasn’t a bad tackle – tackles like that happen 15 times in every game. Unfortunate for Daniela and St. Louis but that wasn’t malicious at all.

  5. gmen04 says:

    gotta love the announcer screamin and she equalizes on Washington’s second goal. Too bad St Louis had 3, classic Fox SOccer announcers…

  6. Steve T. says:

    She shouldnt have gone to ground on that at all. Although the tackle looks sorta half hearted. Unfortunatel situation

  7. Teddie Boy Eddie says:

    It didn’t look like there was anything malicious in that tackle. That is too bad for Daniela and the WPS. Some beautiful goals in that match.

  8. Jimmy says:

    WOW could this be more pro-Wambach in tone of post and the ‘not a bad foul in my eyes’ comments?

    That was a reckless challenge. If that was a non-star player making that challenge everyone except for the Washington fans would be calling for a multi-match ban. Just because Abby is well liked is no reason to give her a pass on this. That challenge at that time and place deserves similar response as Joey Barton’s challenge this weekend. The only difference is that Joey has a history.

  9. kool-aide says:

    Christa, thanks for your piece. I basically agree w/ your conclusions. I didn’t mind the league waiting or the lack of any sort of press conference. Do other leagues really hold press conferences every time a player is injured? I think Abby’s two statements (post game and then the one you quoted) are enough. If she’s contacted Daniel, that’s good enough for me. I don’t need an apology.

    @ag nigrin: yes, Abby’s leg was broken in a friendly vs Brazil prior to the Olympics. Daniela was not involved in that particular play. Nor was the contact that broke Abby’s leg a foul (or at least I don’t remember it being one, it’s been a while).

  10. Jeff says:

    Saying she’s sorry implies she did something wrong. If I am in an auto accident, someone gets hurt, and I say I’m sorry, I’m implicitly accepting some blame. If I wish them a speedy recovery and all the best, I’m not. If she doesn’t feel she did anything wrong, why should she be sorry? So she empathizes instead. Calculated response? Maybe. But understandable.

  11. Experience Dogood says:

    I have to say, I’ve never had any interest in WPS, or in women sports in general. I viewed the launch of WPS as a thorn in the side of MLS, as it may draw away a small portion of its fan base.

    After watching the Stl/WSH highlights, I’m sure of two things. First, the quality of play is higher in WPS than in MLS. Each goal was well taken, and the build up to each was creative and skillful. I wish I could say the same of most goals in MLS. Second, the WPS will certainly draw more than a few MLS fans away. Albeit primarily female fans, but if the quality of play in MLS doesn’t improve, men might be next to move.

    Experience

  12. Jeff says:

    Unfortunate, yes. Reckless, no. She didn’t go in studs up, and didn’t even slide through her. Their shins collided and, unfortunately, Daniella’s leg was in a funny position.

  13. BlueWhiteLion says:

    Abby’s comments don’t seem particularly noteworthy to me. Certainly doesn’t sound very remorseful (maybe she needn’t be), and outside of a formulaic “thoughts and prayers are with her”, her sensitivity sounds artificial (quoting loosely): “I really want to know how bad her injuries are because I know she is important.” That just sounds weird. I am not trying to trash her. Just sounds like “somebody made me say something and I am not particularly apologetic, things happen, and I don’t want her out of commission, but oh well, that is soccer.”

    As for the league responding: I am not worried they did or didn’t, but it does sound like they are a bit worried about a “loss of innocence” with a star player maiming (hyperbole) another star. The WPS isn’t supposed to BE that kind of league. But . . . things happen. Deal with it, acknowledge it, and move on. But WAIT: I remember Hope Solo, and how well the WNT “moved on” in controversy.

    Wow, this turned into a sarcastic rant. Sorry. Maybe having a bad day. :) I love the WPS and glad they are around!

    Peace out.

  14. PetedeLA says:

    Ehh. Looked like a hard, but fair slide tackle to me. She didn’t even have that much momentum.

    I think publicly stating that you will pray for someone is enough. It didn’t look like it was studs up, and certainly wasn’t malicious. If I were the ref, I’d give her a yellow card. Of course, I don’t really watch much women’s soccer.

    Can anyone please tell me why the announcers are always trying to make ‘heroes’? What’s Foudy on about…. “look at that great pass from (I don’t know who)….. “Let’s not discount the finish.” From where I’m sitting, the pass was just a Hail Mary towards the box, while the finish was superlative, not the other way around. I noticed the MLS guys (Harkes and whatnot) tend to do the same thing. Why…?

  15. yankiboy says:

    Ms. Mann, first things first. Thanks for actually giving the incident the sort of attention that it deserved. Some of us have high expectations of WPS and your contributions here. So we are (rightly so) going to hold you to a high (but fair standard) given that this is one of the country’s best soccer blogs. The bar has already been set very high.

  16. yankiboy says:

    Even if I wasn’t a Freedom fan then I wouldn’t want to see Wambach suspended.

    It was an unfortunate injury. Who really, sincerely believes that any malice was not intended. The ref had allowed the game to be physical.

    Was it a hard challenge? Sure. A “statement” sort of challenge. Sure. “Reckless”?!?! A word being used by several. More than a bit harsh.

    The WPS wants to be taken seriously. I take it seriously. I’ve paid my ca$h coz I am lucky enough to have club nearby and I watch games on the tube.

    The Commish needs to be a “Commish”. Yes, the league needs to make a statement. It was a noteworthy event, a significant injury involving two of the star players, no less.

    Make a statement, do whatever you are going to do. Or not going to do. And then move on…

    These aren’t U-9 girls. These are women. Paid professionals. The other leagues deal with this stuff all the time. This is an unfortunate “growing pain”. Do something. Do nothing. Just communicate the logic. Then go forward.

  17. Gilby says:

    I think Abby went in hard with the intention of sending a message that she wouldn’t be pushed around. As a result a gifted player is going to miss the rest of season. Wambach may not have meant to harm the player but thats irrelevant she made a reckless challenge in the middle of the field, outside of the rules, that led to an injury to me that warrants a couple of games on the bench. I know Abby is the face of the league and sitting her may have an adverse impact, but if we turned this around and it was lets say Landon making a similar tackle in MLS I think most of us would agree that he should be suspended. If WPS wants to establish it self I think they need to suspend Wambach.

  18. Chase says:

    That was a thuggish tackle akin, as someone else said, to Barton’s rash challenge on Xabi Alonso this weekend (luckily he came out alright-not so much for Daniela). There was absolutely no need to go to the ground with two feet.

    It’s sad this incident had to mar what turned out to be a very good game.

  19. yankiboy says:

    “Can anyone please tell me why the announcers are always trying to make ‘heroes’?”

    -PetedeLA

    Pedro, Muchisima gracias! Thank you! Muito Obrigado.

    Enough already with the obnoxious salesjob. Call the game. Off some color commentary. Maybe a lot less emphasis on the hero-making and a bit more emphasis on the actual match so you won’t look stupid talking about “non-contact” injuries which later prove to be controversial contact injuries that become “controversies”.

    It is annoying to the UMPTEENTH level. I find it it downright sickening.

    You got some of the best players in the world. I got that. You want people to know that they are good. Got that. You’re happy that full fledged professional women’s league is back. Check.

    Just please don’t annoy me with the sales pitch. Be secure enough in the product.

  20. Casey says:

    If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it still make noise?

  21. Joey says:

    That was a very bad tackle and shows Womach has no actual skills.

  22. Joey says:

    She should have gotten a red card. Studs up and came sliding with 2 feet.

  23. sack says:

    They had a segement about this of FFF monday and i gotta say Wambat was in full retailation mode here and went in right off the whistle with the intent to “send a message” and go in strong.

    She possibley ended the career of a great player, or severely limited it and should get a 5-10 game ban IMO.

  24. 4now says:

    Two-footed tackle off a kickoff. Broken tibia and two knee ligaments.

    Wambach should be suspended for as long as Daniela is out due the injury.

  25. Erik says:

    The tackle looked clumsy, but the girl didn’t control the ball either.

    One thing I will note looking at these highlights those is how much better the ladies game looks these days! Those were some great attacking moves and finishes and I might just have to watch a game.

  26. Dave says:

    Gilby: “…but if we turned this around and it was lets say Landon making a similar tackle in MLS…”

    Then pigs would fly out of my ass. I know you’re just trying to making a point, but let’s be real here.

    As for Abby’s challenge, it’s a little rough, and it will probably result in a suspension, but this *is* football. Hard challenges will happen. Let’s not start equating Abby Wambach with Martin Taylor.

    Unrelated asides:

    - Injury aside, this could be a marketing video for WPS. Those are some VERY well-taken goals. We just have to get rid of the announcer who clearly failed at basic arithmetic. (Dude, how was that an equalizer if the score is now 3-2?)

    - A black-haired Hope Solo just doesn’t look right to me. That had to be an imposter letting all those shots get past her.

  27. kpugs says:

    With all due respect, we see worse tackles than that CONSTANTLY in this game. I hate to point out a United player but just look at nearly every tackle from Paul Scholes.

    Poorly timed and poorly executed tackles are part of this game, especially from attacking players who don’t know how to tackle properly.

    Bottom line is that it’s very unfortunate, was an awful challenge, but at the same time she should not have to apologize for it because she had no idea she was going to cause an injury, much less a severe one.

    If we expect Abby to have to apologize for this, FIFA might as well institute a rule that all players must publicly apologize for all fouls they are called for.

    I want to be clear that I’m not making light of this injury…but after reading all the hype and THEN watching the video, had I not known Daniela was severely injured I would have shrugged my shoulders at the tackle. It’s part of the game.

  28. Teddie Boy Eddie says:

    Chase, that looked nothing like the Barton tackle on Alonso, which was a clear intent to injure and was at the corner flag near the end of a match that was decided by the 25th minute. Clumsy and reckless, perhaps, by Abby.

  29. gel65 says:

    abby wambaugh is a forward who was slide tackling all over the field.wtf is a forward spending so much time on the ground for?she is used to bullying everyone else when she plays and now that shes gettin some back,she cant handle it! its an absolute shame what she did,she showed her personality when she treated hope solo so bad for speaking out when she didnt play vs brazil.

    abby is arrogant and cant handle that shes a small fish in a big pond in the wps with so many talented players,she cant dominate like she is used to.

  30. JoeW says:

    1. Trying to guess “intent” is crazy. I doubt Wambach was trying to provide payback for her injury against Brazil but in the end, that doesn’t make any difference. You penalize (or don’t penalize) for the foul, not the motives. If I attempt to legally tackle the ball away as you breakaway on goal and I”m the last defender, it makes no difference if I didn’t INTENTIONALLY foul you, I’m the last defender and deny a scoring opportunity so it’s a red card. The people who are arguing it was a “payback” foul didn’t watch the game. The entire match was rough and poorly called. Wambach (as well as a number of players) got mugged repeatedly–it degenerated into a tough match. I think this was less likely to be “payback” and more likely a case of the players getting “physical play and tough tackles are being tolerated by this ref–go for the ball every chance you get!”

    2. It’s hard to ignore the injuries here. But think of it this way–if Daniela had NOT gotten hurt and just bounced right back up, how many people would be yelling for a 5-10 game suspension? You call the foul on the action and then the nature of the foul (if a player says “I’m going to get you” and then fouls). Trying to read minds (“did he intentionally handle that ball?”) is crazy and we don’t ask referees to do that in the game. And at the moment of the foul, you rarely know if it’s serious or not at the time of the foul (obvious exceptions are compound fractures and/or blood is evident).

    As I see it, Daniela has a poor touch and the ball bounces too far in front. It almost becomes a 50-50 ball. Wambach gets too much steam going and comes in from too far away so she can’t stop. Daniel tries to interpose and has her leg at an awkward angle. To me, Wambach doesn’t go in studs up. The card is for a 2-footed tackle which is inherently dangerous (despite the reality that in any professional match in MLS or the Premiership you routinely see several ever match).

    I think the yellow card and public statement by Wambach is sufficient. I think it would be classy for Wambach to then contact Daniela directly (rather than through a “friend” or a media statement). Folks who think this was a thuggish play with lots of motive behind it need to watch the entire game. Or watch an English CocaCola league game or lower. Or most MLS matches. And don’t follow the ball–watch the contact, especially off the ball or right after someone delivers the ball. As it’s played at those levels, it’s a sport for adults and it’s a sport with a lot of contact injuries.

  31. Haig says:

    This is WPS’s critical moment.

    Is it going to be an honest, independent professional soccer league, or is it going to be another venue for coddling the biggest name American players?

  32. Tom says:

    If Daniela had not broken a leg the tackle would not have been an issue. It was a foul and maybe reckless, but not the worse thing.

    I was hoping to see some “Keano revenge” in the tackle but there doesn’t appear to be much malicious intent in the challenge.

  33. Indie FC says:

    Christa, from what I could tell, you’re waaaaay off base here. First of all, it was a completely legitimate challenge (based upon the vid you’ve provided). It wasn’t particularly hard and, frankly, that Daniela was injured makes me question her own fitness level. The ball was hit first, the player second. What am I not seeing? I watched this about 20 times and it is clear. Mostly, it wasn’t even a foul in my book. Perhaps women hold themselves to a different standard?

  34. tyson says:

    that was a horrible tackle. she had no intention of going for the ball. those of you who think it was no big deal need to look at this thing a few times.
    that was really lame on abbys part. no one wants to see that at any level and in any league. if that challenge and result was in mls or epl or la liga or anything else, that player would have been suspended for quite some time.

  35. Lee says:

    How many times do you see a slide tackle on a kick-off?

    Abby slid *into* the player. Not into the ball. She was both out of control and playing the opponent (not the ball).

  36. Brokenbil says:

    I’ve already argued on Soccer Insider in favor of a one-game suspension for Abby Wambach. However, the bigger issue is controlling the physicality of play in WPS. This league is too small and too young to afford more injuries to star players. Imagine if it had been Marta or Abby herself? It would be devastating to the league. WPS without its stars is no better than the W-League or WPSL. WPS needs to protect its investments.

  37. Bob says:

    A bad tackle, definitely yellow, probably a red card.

    A very unfortunate injury, but these things happen. I’m not sure what all the hand-wringing is about. Would this get as much attention if a less important (to league and team) player had been hurt?

  38. yankiboy says:

    …she showed her personality when she treated hope solo so bad for speaking out when she didnt play vs brazil.

    abby is arrogant…

    Posted by: gel65 | May 06, 2009 at 11:39 AM

    gel, Do we REALLY want to go there again?

    OK, let’s pick that scab again…

    Hope showed her personality when she made that low class, team spirit killing, arrogant move… I don’t think that is a good card to throw down unless we want to revisit the whole deal all over again.

    That particular sopa opera is probably better left in the past.

    It has nothing to do with this incident. Absolutely nothing.

  39. BlueWhiteLion says:

    Just watched the footage.

    1. Fantastic Soccer! WOW.
    2. I can not see HOW you suspend Wambach. Reputation aside, this really doesn’t look like a vicious challenge. Going by verbal description, I took it at face value that she was reckless. It just looks plain weird and awkward, but not maliciously vicious.

  40. Goalscorer24 says:

    The tackle did not look that bad, but it is ironic that it was a Brazilian, and isn’t it Daniella that made that tackle that injured Wambach? A Revenge tackle? On another note it was interesting to see Hope Solo seething in anger after the last goal against her.

  41. The Noble Savage says:

    It’s ridiculous to suggest that Wambach’s challenge was a “revenge tackle” especially when considering the fact that Wambach has already played against Brazilians this year. If she had been looking for an opportunity to avenge her broken leg then why wouldn’t she have gone after Marta or Cristiane? Moreover, Wambach had every right to go to ground. She’s supposed to lay off the other team because it’s a kickoff? Frankly, that’s ludicrous. Her team had just scored a goal and the momentum was clearly shifting in their favor, a poor touch on the restart by Daniela gave Wambach an opportunity to get the ball back quickly and continue to build on that momentum. She’s supposed to pass up that chance? No, of course not. Unfortunately for Daniela, Wambach mistimed her tackle and, in this instance it led to a terrible injury for the Brazilian. Mistimed tackles are a part of the game, in any given match there are 20 to 40 mistimed challenges and most them end up with no one hurt, a few lead to injuries and even fewer still cause the kinds of injuries Daniela sustained, but to start penalizing players for being aggressive is to rob them of the competitive spirit that makes the games as entertaining as they are, which is, in the end, what we as fans pay to see.

  42. vasco says:

    Abby apologize, please after Hopegate. we know how she feels.

    it was a real hard tackle, Nothing more, stupid maybe.

  43. Goalscorer24 says:

    I just looked it up, it was a different Brazilian player, Andreia Rosa, that injured Wambach.

  44. gel65 says:

    hey yankiboy,what hope solo said happens all the time in mens sports and they just move on and play,they dont create all that drama and ban the player from eating or flying with the team,so i could care less whether you wanna re hash it or not.get a clue.

  45. MVK says:

    Its reckless just going to the ground in that siuation.. and the ball was on the other side of that chicks body/it was the wrong leg. DISCUSTING

  46. MVK says:

    The Noble Savage- she was the farthest player up field, even if the tackle got the ball (she missed by multiple feet) it just would have gone right to the other team, you step in and try to gain posession in that sitaution. Reckless or “mistimed” tackles as you call them do happen, and when you hit the person plant foot you should be thrown out because the other player is getting taking off on a streacher most of hte time. I guess this is her game though, throw a bigger body into the other players, suprized this has happened more….

  47. MVK says:

    IndieFC – “Daniela was injured makes me question her own fitness level.”

    she broke her freaking leg and messed up her knee, that has nothing to do with fitness level… the homerism on this is laughable.. you didnt even think it was a foul? LOL

  48. yankiboy says:

    Hey Gel, looks like you need to get you a clue.

    As far as you caring whether to rehash it or not, you are the one who brought it up. If you didn’t want to go there, then don’t go there.

    When it happens in men’s sports you are called a lockeroom “cancer”. See Terrell Owens. Jay Cutler.

    So what, we are supposed to have different rules because it involved women?

    Is that what you are trying to communicate?

    You are kidding, right???

  49. yankiboy says:

    A guy on Goff’s Soccer Insider had a great point that I completely missed due to the controversy over the devastating injury that Daniela suffered:

    If Daniela is not taken out by Wambach, she would have been a prime candidate to be the Player of the Week. Two goals, the second was pure class and nothing less.

    Was the move to Bompastor (who had an excellent game–what quality player-true revelation) an attempt to downplay the matter. With the quality of the second Daniela strike, I have to believe that she would been the player of the week.

    Just something to think about…

  50. Elizabeth Crawford says:

    The entire Washington/St. Louis game was extremely physical; the referees allowed a lot of ‘play on’, which certainly sets the tone of the game. Wambach plays hard but fair. Injuries are not at all unexpected in this contact sport. Sadly, Daniella sustained a serious injury; would there be as much hype if the outcome was different? I believe so.

    (thanks – have had 6 kids play, with lots of various injuries)

  51. Tom says:

    Watch closely, Daniela’s first touch caused the injury. First touch touch too far and Abby went for it. Foul, yes but thats all.

  52. barrld says:

    I’ve watched the tackle many times and have the following comments:

    There is no reason to tackle on that play;

    Abby W often makes up for her lack of pure athleticism with strength and sometimes very rough play;

    She doesn’t come close to the ball, regardless of whether Daniela blows her touch;

    The tackle itself is two boots up, red card if I’m ref-ing, no matter if Daniela pops up or not;

    Great game, but rough and poorly officiated;

    Hope Solo looks terrible in goal.

  53. mike ruze says:

    Marta is next!!! Just ensuring our third wc !!!!

    Brazil took Amy out with an equally cheap foul!

    should have been a red card at the least.

  54. Kent says:

    It wasn’t the intent but the result that should be used to judge the incident. It was a reckless challenge on Wambach’s part. She should be suspended.

  55. Craig says:

    One thing everyone seems to be ignoring is how many times Wambach made contact with Solo early in the game. At the 18:15 marked Wambach grabs Solo by the shoulders as she went by. No call at all. At the 35:52 mark, Wambach rams Solo knocking her backwards. No call at all. A bit later, Wambach again makes hard contact with Solo. No call. If I’m a defender and Wambach runs into my goalkeeper three times in one half, you’re darn right I’m going to rough up Wambach. So all this boohoo, poor Abby got roughed, boohoo stuff, Abby did her fair share of roughing up Solo, which should never have been allowed. Where were the calls there? Maybe if they had given Abby a yellow for one of those, she wouldn’t have been so reckless in her challenge on Daniela on totally inconsequential play for no good reason and with two feet and studs up. You bet she deserves some punishment other than the slap on the wrist yellow she got.

  56. Joey says:

    The tackle wasn’t brilliantly executed in terms of timing or location, but it certainly wasn’t vicious. It actually looked pretty soft considering the injury it caused. My take: Daniela has weak knees, give that woman some Boniva!

  57. Lorrie says:

    How many ignored fouls were there against Wambach? McNeil (I believe) was the enforcer throughout the game without a card – ridiculous. The ref didn’t make the calls he should have and the tone for the game was set. Wambach’s effort wasn’t malicious, but it was overkill and unnecessary, but many tackles are. Certainly unfortunate for Daniela.

  58. TimF says:

    The women’s game sucks. The sooner this league dies the better. Oh and Wambach is a ****.

  59. Brent Crossland says:

    All of the discussion of “intent” is totally irrelevant. The person with the whistle is not a mind reader. He/She cannot make any determination as to “intent”.

    To me the most telling statement in this article is “Personally, I am opposed to suspending any players because that type of play occurred throughout the entire game.”

    Please see Paul Gardner’s APR 27th essay titled “Refs Only Need to Enforce the Rules”. Setting aside the semantics of ‘rules’ vs. ‘laws’, was Wambach’s challenge careless? reckless?

    To me Wambach came in hard with both feet with no regard for her opponent’s safety. If I have the whistle I’m pulling red.

    You cannot justify these kinds of tackles because ‘they happen all of the time’. Pro league or youth league — if the foul is committed punish it. If misconduct occurs, enforce the LOTG.

    If the league doesn’t like it the referee only has two choices — personal integrity or . . . .

  60. DS says:

    Easy red card.
    As a commenter pointed out, Daniela’s touch was a bit poor and if you pause at 2:04 you’ll see that her right leg is extended (a bit awkwardly). Wambach could’ve made a clean tackle by swinging her feet *away* from Daniela (sorta in a counterclockwise sweep starting from her own right hand side); instead, she goes right into Daniela’s legs – an entirely unnecessary, reckless tackle with excessive force, easily a serious foul play, and a send-off. Protecting talented players is very important for the good of the game, and IMHO, this referee failed at this miserably.

  61. tres says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t bring myself to watch this video.

    Watching dudes get all banged up and crunched during a sports game: cool. It gets the adrenaline going.

    But watching women get hurt? I don’t know, man. It just feels off. I think it runs against something embedded deep in our DNA. Human beings have an instinct to protect young females (“women and children first!”), because of their role in reproducing the species.

    I’m not trying to be sexist. Women’s soccer is fine, even fun to watch. I just find it interesting that I don’t have the same impulse to gleefully click on that video that I would if it were some guy getting his leg cracked.

  62. Doug Huston says:

    Wambach was frustrated by the physical play of Saint Louis all day. This was a savage tackle and would have warrented a red card and suspension in any other league. Abby may not have been trying to hurt Daniela but the tackle was reckless and should have been punished. Now Saint Louis is without their star for the rest of the year. If the roles were reversed, most everyone, IMO, would be screaming for Daniela’s head.

  63. Doug Huston says:

    By the way, to TimF, the women’s game is much more pleasing to watch than MLS (I have season tickets to both MLS and WPS). The women’s game actually features skill as oppossed to the long ball, see what happens play of MLS. Funny that we are talking about a reckless tackle here as one of things I enjoy about WPS is the relative absence of non-sensical fouls that prevent skillfull players from being skillfull in MLS. The US men’s game has evolved into run like mad, kick the ball upfield, and foul if you get beat. Have you noticed that this country has yet to develop a quality center mid? The women’s game is beautiful to watch. Try it some time.

  64. JP says:

    Watch the replay. There is NO WAY anyone here can watch that replay and say that Wambaugh was going for the player rather than the ball. NO. WAY. Play it in slow motion, and watch Abby’s eyes…she is running towards Daniela, and as soon as the ball bounces away from Daniela, her eyes follow the ball, her trajectory shifts to the side and she launches herself in a direct line towards where the ball is.

    Now, could you say she did that recklessly? Sure. But no objective, rational person could possibly argue that she was going for the player rather than for the ball. Watch the replay. Watch her eyes. They tell the whole story.

  65. Rochelle massey says:

    I feel the refs and the league hasn’t done enough for safety. Abby was clearly in the wrong. A slide tackle at that point in the midst of that play was unacceptable. I’m not sure whether or not it was intentional or not, but she should have been carded! The penalty was too light.