Yes ladies and gentleman that picture is worth a thousand words. It was something that you could see in a movie or if you got an e-mail and it was trick photography that showed a limb bent in a position that’s not natural. But unfortunately for Preston Burpo this terrible accident did happen and to be honest, I don’t know if he will ever come back from this type of injury for the rest of the season.
The New England Revolution went ahead on an own goal by New York Red Bulls rookie defender Tim Ream and in the 34th minute is when this terrible ordeal happened. Joel Lindpere made a pass to Dane Richards who made a run and at the same time Burpo came off his line to try and clear the ball. Instead of Richards getting the ball, he accidentally stomped on Burpo’s right leg and by the picture broke the ankle.
Getting the MSG Network feed former NY Cosmos Keeper Shep Messing sounded very sad in what happened with Burpo and was very angry at Richards for not giving some respect in Burpo who did slide into the ball for a clearance. That was a split second decision and I have to admit that Dane Richards did have the right to go after the ball, but once Preston Burpo started to go down and attempted to make a clear, he has to pull out from the challenge.
WARNING: The picture is after the jump. Please be warned that some readers may find it nauseating.
As soon as the challenge was made I already thought of the Mike Ammann situation back in the 2000 season when Mamadou Diallo of the Tampa Bay Mutiny refused to pull out from a challenge. Mike Ammann already had the ball as he dove to the ground and Diallo who somewhat tried to leap over him put his right boot into Ammann’s chest & stomach breaking some ribs & with the left leg kicked Ammann in the head for a concussion at the same time. That wasn’t a split second challenge; Diallo had a good five seconds to make a left or a right turn.
There was the 2003 season when Jonny Walker was the keeper on the road at the original San Jose Earthquakes. The Metro up a goal in the second half Landon Donovan went after the ball and when Walker already grabbed it, Donovan decided to give Walker a swift kick to the stomach intentionally. That was the first time Donovan lost his cool as he delivered a dangerous challenge to the Metro keeper.
The scenes at Gillette Stadium during the 34th minute were horrific. The Fort behind the goal as the Revolution supporters quickly had their hands covering their mouths in terror, Revolution forward Sainey Nyassi was a complete wreck as he cried for his keeper. How Steve Nicol was able to quickly get his players to re-focus after what just happened to Burpo was a miracle in its self.
Yes it is true that we see these collisions in the game when the keeper and an attacking forward are going after the ball at the same time. But to be honest there has to be some common sense on the field when a challenge like that could cause a very terrible injury and sadly Preston Burpo has already paid that price. Let’s all hope Preston can recover from this and hopefully he could be ready for next season.