MLS: Top 10 Hardest Tackles in League History

Ned Harwood@@RBStampedeContributor IIIMay 8, 2012

MLS: Top 10 Hardest Tackles in League History

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    If you're looking for hard-hitting, old-school, intense soccer tackle highlights, then you have come to the right place. MLS has now been in existence for over 15 years, and it seems like as the league has developed, so has the intensity of tackles. We have seen some of the most significant player suspensions in league history come in the last few years thanks to some very hard challenges.

    While not all the hardest challenges in league history have videos on the web today, I have grouped together the 10 hardest hits/tackles/challenges of the last few years all in one painful slideshow. Enjoy!

Honorable Mention: Blas Perez on Drew Moor

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    This rough challenge occurred just a few days ago down in Dallas. Blas Perez came late to the scene and put studs right through the knee of Rapids player Drew Moor last Sunday. The tackle resulted in Dallas' second red card in three minutes and Dallas' first home loss of the season. The tackle can be seen at 1:47.

Honorable Mention: Thierry Henry on Roger Espinoza

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    There was a lot of controversy surrounding this one red card that nearly cost the Red Bulls a playoff spot in 2011. Many people, including myself, originally thought that this was simply unintentional contact between Henry and the player who had just won the ball from him.

    However, when looking at the replay again and recognizing the multiple other routes he could have taken, as well as acknowledging Henry has always been a hot head, this knee to the head certainly looks deserving of a red card. Nevertheless, it still wasn't hard enough to make the Top 10. 

10. David Beckham on Peter Vagenas

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    Beckham has made a name for himself in MLS not just by his passing ability, but by his very aggressive tackling style since arriving in 2007. This one challenge in 2009 earned him a one-way ticket to the locker room, as Vagenas' ankle took the full beating of a studs-up cleat. Even the usually argumentative Beckham knew it was worthy of a red. 

9. Bill Hamid on Eric Avila

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    I think the video title says it all: Brutal. While Hamid may not have meant to take out Avila in that manner, the contact was extremely harsh and worthy of a red card.

    Even with Avila's large touch that was likely going out of bounds, Hamid still made "studs up" contact with a player who was essentially behind the defense. The result was nearly a 360 flip by the TFC midfielder and the DC United keeper's first red card of his career. 

8. Kyle Beckerman on Daniel Paladini

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    Beckerman is known as a player who will not take any nonsense from anybody, and it showed last year against the Chicago Fire. Beckerman's best Zidane impression earned him a red card and an additional two-game suspension and fine last season. While many players can fake head-butts nowadays, the contact was there, and the red card was deserving. 

7. Conor Casey on Will Hesmer

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    He might have just been trying to sneak the ball past the goalie's hands, but Conor Casey took a chunk out of Will Hesmer last season with this late challenge. It was not necessarily a vicious tackle, but it was certainly one of the hardest ones that we saw all last year. I've seen this tackle multiple times, and every time I end up cringing. Ouch! 

6. Rafa Marquez on Shea Salinas

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    If you haven't seen this tackle yet, it is a wonder if you are a fan of MLS at all. This American football tackle by the Red Bull midfielder last month was the latest controversy in the DP's infamous MLS career.

    While the tackle went unpunished in the game, MLS officials slammed Marquez with a three-game ban after it had been discovered Shea Salinas broke his collarbone on the play. Seriously, how much more can the NYRB fan base take of this guy?

5. Gabriel Farfan on James Riley

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    This may have only occurred a few weeks ago, but it was severe enough to find its way onto this prestigious list. As you can see from the video, two studs up into a defenseless player resulted in a benches-clearing tussle that even gave Union coach Piotr Nowak a suspension. Farfan is still serving his three game suspension and will miss the Union's clash against rival New York this weekend. 

4. Adrian Serioux on David Beckham

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    It was certainly a "Welcome to MLS" moment for David Beckham when Adrian Serioux came in hard at midfield on the Englishman in 2008. The tackle accomplished little more than an early send-off for Serioux and confirmed what was already a 4-1 victory for the Galaxy. However, knowing Beckham's injury proneness, it is a wonder he made it through this vicious tackle alive!

3. Marcos Mondaini on Javier Morales

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    This horrific challenge caused uproar throughout MLS nation, as it resulted in the breaking of RSL star Javier Morales' leg. Morales clearly had Mondaini beat before a stud to the back of his leg led to the horrible injury that nearly kept the Argentine out the rest of the 2011 season. Fortunately, Morales has fully recovered from the injury and has recorded assists in back-to-back games. 

2. Ricardo Clark on Carlos Ruiz

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    Well, it may not be a tackle, but it still is one of the harshest plays in MLS history. After battling for position on a set piece, FC Dallas player Carlos Ruiz fell to the ground, leaving him in a completely defenseless position, as Ricardo Clark attempted to punt him across the field.

    The play evidently resulted in a red card and a nine-game suspension for Clark, the longest in league history at that point in time. While he may not have hit him directly in the head like Ruiz implies, this is still a vicious kick. 

1. Brian Mullan on Steve Zakuani

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    Of course, No. 1 is the infamous tackle heard around the world. Brian Mullan's vengeful, bad-intentioned tackle last April led to the breaking of Seattle star Steve Zakuani's leg and an ensuing 10-game suspension.

    His lengthy suspension was the longest in MLS history, yet many believed it was still too short considering the severity of the injury. The effects of this challenge are still being felt today, as Mullan still feels regret about the tackle he made, and Zakuani has yet to play in a MLS league game since.