CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA winger Ryan Smith has been a marked man of late.
His ability to blow by defenders and create havoc for opposing defenses down the wings has already drawn a fair share of fouls, currently ranking him fourth in the league in fouls suffered with 16. With seven matches and 469 minutes played in 2012, that translates into a foul every 29 minutes.
“To be honest, ever since I’ve come here, it’s been like that,” Smith recently told MLSsoccer.com. “It seems as if I’m trying to recover from a tackle every week. It’s pretty frustrating, to be honest, but I definitely feel like I’m being targeted.”
WATCH: Smith taken out by Keon Daniel
This is hardly a new phenomenon for the Englishman, who was in the top 10 in fouls suffered during his last full season in MLS in 2010 while with Kansas City.
Smith found himself on the receiving end of yet another hard challenge last Saturday during the Rojiblancos’ 1-0 defeat to the Philadelphia Union. In the 75th minute, he was brought down by a sweeping two-footed challenge by Keon Daniel, resulting in a straight red for the Philadelphia attacker.
Daniel’s booking was the second time this season that an opposing player had been given a card for a foul on the fleet-footed Englishman. Smith feels his style and skills has ensured he has a bull's-eye squarely on his back.
“It’s probably because of the way that I play and the type of player that I am,” Smith said. “I’m an attacker, I create chances and people probably want to take me out of games so that I’m not able to do that.”
Hard challenges or not, Smith has been highly productive for Chivas as of late, currently leading the team in assists with two, while also being tied with three other teammates for the lead in shots on goal.
But despite the rough treatment that he’s received from opposing defenses, Smith has no plans to alter his style of play as his team gets set for a showdown in Colorado this Saturday (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
“I just have to expect it,” asserted Smith. “It’s not a thing that I have control over, I just have to get on it with it I suppose. It’s the referee’s job to notice. I won’t change the way that I play.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com.