MONTREAL – The MLS leader in fouls suffered is tricky Montreal Impact midfielder Felipe, who has already forced opponents into fouls on him 70 times this season. Care to guess who comes in second? No cheating.
Tied for second with Chicago’s Patrick Nyarko is Felipe’s teammate, Davy Arnaud, who has been fouled 69 times since First Kick 2012.
Arnaud’s position in that particular stats column might be a surprise to some, yet the Impact skipper has prominently featured in it for most of his career. In 2004, his first season as a regular starter for Kansas City, Arnaud actually led the league in fouls suffered with a staggering 111 in 30 games. Since then, apart from the 2009 and 2011 seasons, the 32-year-old has cracked the top 10 every single year.
READ: Full MLS 2012 statistics
When asked about what makes his captain such a target, Montreal head coach Jesse Marsch laughingly observed that he probably fouled Arnaud more than once during his own playing days, before praising the 32-year-old’s sheer competitiveness.
“I think that his competitive nature means that he wants to compete on every play,” Marsch told MLSsoccer.com. “And a lot of times, that means actually putting his body in harm’s way to try and get a little bit of an extra edge in a play, and it winds up leading to him getting certain fouls. He commits a lot of fouls, too. He’s a competitor.”
The Impact captain, Marsch explained, manages to get fouled in a variety of different situations such as “50-50 balls, head balls, set pieces and the run of play.”
And Arnaud wins fouls in different locations, too.
This season, 55 percent of the fouls committed on Arnaud have occurred away from the right-hand third of the field where he usually roams as a right midfielder. Marsch admitted that Arnaud tucking inside, a feature of the Texan’s role in his tactical plans, could be a factor, but insisted that Arnaud getting fouled was, more often than not, down to his determined nature.
As for Arnaud himself, he tends to agree with his coach. But mostly, he just looks at the stats and shrugs.
“When you’re trying to get around the ball, you put pressure on teams, you try to make some stuff happen going forward, it’s going to happen,” Arnaud said of the fouling. “I don’t know if there’s anything to it, but [I] don’t think about it at all, honestly.”