Last week in a clash between the New York Red Bulls and Dallas FC, French superstar Thierry Henry of the energy drink club cleared the ball after teammate, Mehdi Ballouchy, knocked in a goal in the first half stoppage time.
As a result of this unorthodox celebration, the Frenchman inadvertently kicked the foot of Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman and will now be sidelined for 2-3 weeks; which pretty much ends his season.
The striker was not booked by referee Baldmore Toledo. But after MLS reviewed the tapes, the league determined the only penalty worthy for such a blatant disregard for players safety would be a 2000 dollar fine.
Hartman's agent, furious at the decision by MLS stated this to the Washington Post, "The members of the disciplinary committee should be embarrassed and ashamed. It's either no punishment or there must be a suspension. I'm sorry to discover that they've established a double standard for the treatment of their marquee players as opposed to the treatment of their rank and file."
As far as the Red Bulls were concerned, they released this statement, "Following the Red Bulls' first goal of the evening by Mehdi Ballouchy, Henry kicked the ball after the play had ended. FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman stepped into the path of the ball and suffered a knee injury as a result."
Clearly an act that should have warranted a suspension, didn't. But why?
Is Thierry Henry above the MLS rules and regulations? Maybe in Henry's mind. But could it be that on Friday the 24th the Red Bulls will travel to LA and take on the Galaxy in a clash of epic proportions? Yes!
The match-up is laced with superstars from all over the world. The soccer world will stand still as Landon Donovan and David Beckham take on Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez.
The Home Depot Center, where the Galaxy play, is guaranteed to sell out. Galaxy officials are now selling tickets for the grassy knoll area on the north side.
Henry's actions, almost career ending for Hartman, are definitely worthy of a multi-games benching. But, in the best interests of the MLS, this next match up is too big for Henry miss.
This is a match-up 14 years in the making.
The MLS has always been regarded as the kid version of soccer leagues when compared to the Premiership in England or other in Europe. But come Friday the American league will take one giant leap forward in their reputation. And the whole world will see that the MLS can stand right there next to EPL and others.