Before Burpo, There Was Mike Ammann
It’s still fresh in our memory banks of what happened to Preston Burpo on a challenge with New York Red Bulls midfielder Dane Richards. That terrible challenge when both men were at the ball at the same time & after the clearance there was a snap. That was a pure accidental moment right off the bat. The last time something like that had happened was back in the 2000 MLS Season when there were two Floridian clubs in MLS.
The man in the picture wearing the keeper jersey is Mike Ammann. The MetroStars were having a fantastic season in 2000 after a horrible April. Just as things got better after the dispersal Draft bringing in Clint Mathis from the Los Angeles Galaxy, the club was on a role till the incident. Back on August 16th, 2000 when the former Tampa Bay Mutiny called Raymond James Stadium home.
After the Metro took a lead in the first half Senegal Striker Mamadou Diallo tried to get a goal past Ammann and instead bumped him down and earned a yellow card. After that happened he took another chance and the result was horrific. Carlos Valderrama passed a good ball towards goal to allow Diallo to make an attacking run, but once Ammann got to the ball there was plenty of room for Diallo to pull away from the challenge.
Instead of pulling away, turning left or turning right Diallo continued to go forward and Intentionally tried to leap over or into Ammann. Instead his right foot caught Ammann in the chest breaking a couple of ribs & at the same time Diallo’s left foot smacked or stepped on Ammann’s face giving him a concussion.
There was no red card during that play and the difference between both of what happened to Burpo and Ammann, Dane Richards was so sorry it happened and made contact with Burpo to apologize while Diallo intentionally took out Ammann. There was a good five to six seconds for Diallo to avoid Ammann while Richards met Burpo at the ball in a split second.
You heard Mike Ammann come on my podcast show and talk about Preston Burpo & his own situation back on that terrible day. But what was worse or insult to injury that the MLS Disciplinary Committiee decided after watching the tape not to suspend Diallo for his actions. That made Mike Petke wear the famous shirt underneath his jersey after he scored a goal in the 5-3 win against the Colorado Rapids at Giants Stadium “Revenge Is Coming”.
Big Apple Soccer & NY Daily News writer Michael Lewis was at the match as well and remembers it vividly. He thought this was a no brainer and the league was going to at least give Diallo a one match suspension, but none was coming. While the league has updated their technology thru the years and has given swift judgments on suspensions to certain players for terrible fouls that were or weren’t called or booked. But for those former players that never got their day, you can tell in their voice that they still have some anger in them.
For Preston Burpo he had successful surgery repairing his broken right leg as his fibula & tibia broke. During the match between the Red Bulls & the Dynamo MSG Network’s sideline reporter Tina Cervasio said Dane Richards did contact Burpo to apologize for his actions and told him there was no intent & when Burpo watched the tape, he agreed.
All I hope for is that this type of play never happens again in MLS or any other league in the world. Yes there will be collisions and injuries are a part of the game, but something that horrible and that terrible I hope will never return again. I wish Preston Burpo a speedy recovery and hopes he can get back on the field for next year.
New England Revolution Report on Preston Burpo’s Surgery
Michael Lewis Report on Mike Ammann from CNNSI