For 78 minutes, it seemed as if Fabrice Muamba could very well lose his life. Now, it's conceivable the Bolton midfielder could return to play once more.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle said Muamba, who was released from the hospital Monday after suffering a heart attack a month ago during an FA Cup match at Tottenham, could very well play again for the club — possibly as soon as next season.
"Knowing Fabrice and how much of a battler he is, it wouldn't surprise me if he comes back," Coyle said. "But I've got to stress he still needs that time with his family unit. … That would be Fabrice and his family's decision. He'll not come under any pressure from us. Once he feels he's up to it, then all good and well. If it's next season, great."
Here are some more stories to keep your Thursday rolling:
New York Red Bulls midfielder Rafa Marquez always figured to face some sort of suspension for his actions in last weekend's match against the San Jose Earthquakes. On Thursday, Marquez and the Red Bulls found out just how stiff a punishment he will face.
MLS announced on Thursday that Marquez will be suspended for three matches after injuring San Jose midfielder Shea Salinas with a bearhug and slam that resulted in Salinas suffering a broken collarbone.
Marquez was also issued an undisclosed fine for his actions. He wasn't the only player suspended by MLS on Thursday. San Jose midfielder Marvin Chavez was issued a one-game suspension for a reckless tackle on Roy Miller.
The suspension means Marquez will miss the Red Bulls' upcoming matches against Eastern Conference rivals D.C. United and New England, as well as a high-profile road trip to the take on the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Veteran Italian striker Bernardo Corradi has started to leave his mark for the Montreal Impact, with goals in each of the club's last two games. As of now, he'll only have about two more months to contribute up top, though he hopes to extend that period for at least the rest of the season.
The 36-year-old Corradi confirmed to SBI that his deal with Montreal lasts through June 30, and that he will reassess his season-long prospects with the club during that month.
"There is no pressure, because I have a great relationship with the club and with the owner," Corradi said. "We're going to discuss if there is any chance to continue playing with them. I think it will not be a problem of money or anything. We just look at each other, we shake hands, and everything will be OK. We're going to see how it works from here to the end of June, but we're going to find a deal for sure."
Mexican powerhouse Monterrey took a giant step toward repeating as CONCACAF Champions League title holders on Wednesday night after a second-half brace from Humberto Suazo gave the Rayados a 2-0 first-leg victory over Santos Laguna.
The match was a tightly contested one until the second half, when Suazo finally broke through with a pair of goals, including a dazzling run through the Santos defense near the end of the match to help give Monterrey a two-goal cushion heading to the second leg in Torreon next week.
The match was not without some controversy. Suazo's two goals came after a questionable challenge on Santos goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez that looked to be a clear second yellow card offense, but the referee let Suazo off and the Chilean striker punished Santos Laguna.
American striker Herculez Gomez earned the start for Santos Laguna, but saw his eight-match goal-scoring streak ended.
Here are some other stories to get your Thursday going:
By JOSE M. ROMERO
Sporting Kansas City's Cascadian swing started off in fine fashion with Wednesday night's 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps at B.C. Place Stadium, as the Eastern Conference leaders moved to 7-0-0 on the season.
SKC played about 73 minutes of high quality soccer. The final 17 minutes or so saw the Whitecaps try to rally furiously, but the game was already in hand for Sporting, which got goals from Aurelien Collin — his second in as many games — followed by an own goal courtesy of Vancouver defender Martin Bonjour and finally, Kei Kamara taking a pass from Chance Myers and shooting home his team-leading fourth goal of the season.
Sporting KC provided a clinic in ball movement and attacking tactics against a porous Whitecaps defense that saw its struggles continue, having allowed six goals in the past two games.
The match got physical early as both teams sought to set the tone. Whitecaps forward Eric Hassli kicked Kamara in the lower leg in an aggressive play for the ball in the sixth minute, and Kamara stayed down for a few moments.
For the second straight game on the road the Montreal Impact had a victory within reach. And for the second straight game they let points get away.
Maicon Santos' 73rd-minute goal on a low shot from distance cancelled out Bernardo Corradi's 68th-minute header, as D.C. United and the Impact settled for a 1-1 draw in front of 10,135 at RFK Stadium Wednesday night.
The script was all too familiar for Montreal, which went ahead of FC Dallas on a Corradi penalty kick in the second half only to watch the hosts battle back for the win. At the very least, the Impact walked away from RFK with their first road point in their expansion season.
"If we're being honest with ourselves, we let two points slip away," Montreal captain Davy Arnaud said. "We get the goal again to take the lead, and then we let them back in it. At the end of the day it is a point on the road, and when you're on the road you want to pick up points, but at some point we have to turn these good performances into wins. The positive is that we feel like we're performing enough to be able to do that."
It is a busier Wednesday night than usual for American soccer fans, what with two MLS matches and the CONCACAF Champions League Final on tap featuring American striker Herculez Gomez.
D.C. United plays host to the Montreal Impact (7:30pm, Direct Kick) while red-hot Sporting Kansas City puts their perfect record on the line in Vancouver tonight against the Whitecaps (10pm, Direct Kick).
In Monterrey, Mexico, the CONCACAF Champions League Final begins with the first leg featuring the high-scoring attacks of Santos Laguna and Monterrey (10pm, Fox Soccer Channel).
SBI will be providing live commentary on tonight's matches so please feel free to follow all the action here on SBI. As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):