Seattle Sounders midfielder Jordy Delem injured in freak collision with referee Ismail Elfath

SEA v POR: Ref with Jordy Delem

A freak collision with referee Ismail Elfath forced Jordy Delem off the field with a neck injury and forced Brian Schmetzer to shuffle his lineup before the half-hour mark of Thursday’s Cascadia clash between the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers.

In the 25th minute, Delem raced to beat Diego Valeri to a ball headed into space by Diego Chara, but ran into the elbow of Elfath, who was facing the ball, and crashed to the turf.

Delem was tended to by the Sounders medical staff for several minutes and Elfath was seen rubbing his neck from the force of the collision.

Delem was helped off the field and Alex Roldan came in minutes later for his replacement as brother Cristian slid into Delem’s position on the field.

Speaking after the game, which ended 1-1 after a late Will Bruin equalizer, Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer confirmed that it was a neck rather than a head injury.

"I know he is not going to go into the concussion protocol," he said. "It was something to do with his neck, I don't know the exact answer there but I know he's not going into concussion protocol. But he does have a sore neck and we'll evaluate that tomorrow."

Still, Schmetzer could also see the funny side of the unusual incident.

"I have never seen one of our players getting injured by running into the referee. said the veteran coach. "I don't know if Chris Henderson, who is our sporting director who writes in the referee report, I don't know if he'll dock him for that. That's a joke, by the way. But, you know, Ismail is a good ref. I'm sure he didn't want to do that. It's just bad luck for Jordy."