Ouimette to undergo MRI after “cowardly” attack

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RUSS McKENZIE

East Hanover, NY – On Saturday night, Red Bulls defender Karl Ouimette was assaulted from behind by now-former Pittsburgh Riverhounds player Romeo Parkes.

Despite the apparent severity of the cleats-out kick to Ouimette’s spine, New York head coach Jesse Marsch is optimistic in prognosis.

“Thankfully he came out of it in a way that he’s very sore and injured but we hope it’s nothing severe or long term,” Marsch said after training on Monday. “It’s a back contusion. He’s getting an MRI today, but we’re very hopeful it’s nothing serious.”

Tempers were running hot in the match on Saturday night. Ouimette, on loan to Red Bulls II, had received a red card as part of an altercation, along with Parkes. Ouimette took his licks and was walking off the field when Parkes did a spartan-style cleats-out kick to Ouimette’s back.

The Canadian national fell to the ground and left the pitch on a stretcher. Parkes was suspended indefinitely by USL, and Pittsburgh terminated his contract shortly there after.

After the injury occurred, Marsch understandably was concerned.

“It was horrific to watch,” he said. “Immediately we were all very concerned as a club, and there was a lot of dialogue going on between us and the staff of the USL team trying to identify exactly where Karl was at… Anyone who watches it cringes and can’t believe something so cowardly would be done.

“Our minds and hearts are with Karl, and we’re really glad he’s ok.”

While the USL/MLS relationship does garner on-field rewards in terms of fitness and playing time, there is an inherent risk with loaning first division players to the third division where they may face a different breed of competitor.

Despite the incident, Marsch won’t hesitate to send his senior team players to the USL side.

“You can’t ever predict something like that. That is very unusual and outside of the norm,” he said. “Sometimes the playing conditions aren’t the best. You have teams or players that play a bit more recklessly, but we’ve been able to avoid that for the most part and I think we’ve been able to use the USL as real tool for our younger players and our players coming off of injury to get to where they need to be to help out with the first team.”