FC Dallas midfielder Richard Mulrooney will miss the rest of the 2005 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Mulrooney suffered the injury in the 27th minute of Saturday's match while he was battling Earthquakes midfielder Ricardo Clark for the ball near the Dallas endline. After Clark evaded Mulrooney's challenge, the Dallas player planted his right foot awkwardly and dropped to the ground. He kept playing for five minutes before again collapsing to the turf without contact from another player. This time, Mulrooney was substituted and eventually taken to the locker room.
On Monday, an MRI confirmed that Mulrooney had torn his ACL, and he will undergo surgery sometime in the next two weeks. FC Dallas President and General Manager Greg Elliott lamented the loss of Mulrooney for the rest of the Hoops' campaign but added that he expects to see the player back in top shape next spring.
"We feel terrible for Richard, but this team was not built around one player," said Elliott. "While he is a major contributor to this squad and a key member of our family, we will rally around each other and work together to deal with this adversity.
"Richard is in good hands and we are confident that he will be ready and fit come the spring of 2006."
Mulrooney suffered the injury on the same Spartan Stadium field he had played on for five years as a member of the Earthquakes. Saturday's match was his first against his former team, and much of the hype surrounding the game hinged on his return. A fan favorite during his time in San Jose, Mulrooney was greeted with polite applause as he was helped off the field.
Mulrooney's injury was one of five that forced substitutions from both sides during Saturday's match. FC Dallas defender David Wagenfuhr left the match late after suffering a bruised patella. For the Earthquakes, Troy Dayak left before a quarter-hour had elapsed with a sprained knee, Brian Ching departed late in the first half with a strained hamstring and Brian Mullan suffered a sprained ankle and left the game in the 61st minute. Wagenfuhr is day-to-day for Dallas, while the extent of the Quakes' injuries has not been determined.
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story is not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.