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Diallo puts fire into game, feud

After a four-goal game and more penalties from MLS, the Mutiny forward is ready to prove himself.

By RODNEY PAGE

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 12, 2001


Mamadou Diallo is at it again.

Not only does it appear Diallo is back to his scoring ways after a four-goal performance against Los Angeles on Wednesday, he's renewed his feud with Major League Soccer. Diallo is upset that the league disciplinary committee tacked on an extra game suspension for his hard tackle on Metro-Stars defender Mike Petke and shoving Steve Jolley in the aftermath of the April 21 game.

Diallo said his way of getting back at the league was to score as many goals as he could.

"It's tough for me because of what has happened with the league," Diallo said. "Everybody knows I didn't deserve the red card. That's the situation. The league has more power than me. (Wednesday) was the time for me to show them and the fans what Mamadou is really like.

"That was very good motivation for me. I was very mad at the beginning of the season because I didn't have many goals. But now Mamadou is back."

Diallo was fined $1,000 for his actions against Petke and Jolley and missed both games against Chicago. The Mutiny failed to score in his absence and lost both games.

This is not the first time Diallo has had some choice words for MLS officials. Last season, his first in the league, Diallo was even more outspoken about MLS' disciplinary committee.

In an Aug. 2 match against Chicago, Diallo was serving ayellow-card suspension. After what he thought was a poorly officiated game, Diallo ran on the field in his street clothes to confront the referee. A week later, just hours before a game against Dallas, Diallo was informed he'd be suspended for another game for confronting the referee.

"The league decides everything here," Diallo said at the time. "But at the end of the season I have the final decision."

Diallo threatened to join French club Metz, but eventually signed a three-year contract extension with MLS.

Diallo also sparked some controversy in August when he collided with MetroStars goalkeeper Mike Amman and broke three of Amman's ribs. He was not fined or suspended.

Then there was his tiff with then-Mutiny coach Tim Hankinson. Diallo was being platooned with forward Raul Diaz Arce and was upset about not starting. Eventually Diaz Arce was traded to D.C. United for John Maessner.

And finally, Diallo was outspoken about finishing fifth in All-Star balloting despite leading the league in scoring. He was the MLS All-Star Game Most Valuable Player.

"In this league, I need to protect myself," Diallo said. "The way I do that is scoring goals. They can't take that away from me."

The Mutiny surely doesn't want to be without Diallo for any more games. His four-goal performance set a team record. He had a hat trick in the first half, and his span of three goals in 22 minutes blew away Musa Shannon's mark of three in 62 minutes.

Although the Mutiny tied Los Angeles 4-4 on Wednesday, think about what the score could've been with Diallo out of the lineup.

"He showed what kind of player he is and what he can do for the team," Mutiny coach Alfonso Mondelo said. "The guy had five or six chances for a goal and he put four of them away. You get that every day and we would be unstoppable. He showed how important he was to the team.

"I don't expect Mamadou to score four goals every day, but aside from the goals he scored what he did without the ball was important. He switched the point of attack from one side of the field to the other. He opened up space. That's what a big-time player has to do. He showed his value."

Diallo will try to continue his hot streak tonight against Colorado, the site of his first MLS goal. He will also play against Hankinson.

What Diallo said he wants more than anything is a win.

"It was very difficult for me and the team because I scored four goals and we didn't get three points," Diallo said. "For me, the best thing I can do is try to help the team as best I can. It's hard to deal with because we didn't win."

Tonight: Mutiny at Colorado

WHEN/WHERE: 9; Mile High Stadium, Denver.

TV/RADIO: Ch. 44 (Hillsborough County only); WWBA-AM 1040, WAMA-AM 1550 (Spanish).

RECORDS: Mutiny 2-3-1, Rapids 1-3-1.

COACHES: Mutiny -- Alfonso Mondelo. Rapids -- Tim Hankinson.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Mutiny -- M Carlos Valderrama, F Mamadou Diallo, D Craig Demmin, G Scott Garlick, M Steve Ralston. Rapids -- D Robin Fraser, M Marcelo Balboa, F Junior Agogo, M Imad Baba, G Adin Brown.

NOTES: Valderrama was issued four extra penalty points and a $250 fine for dissent in Wednesday's match with Los Angeles. Valderrama argued with referee Alex Prus after the Galaxy's goal in extra time, which Valderrama said came after extra time elapsed. Valderrama, who already had a yellow card, has 12 penalty points. Twenty-one, or 11 over a three-game span, bring a one-game suspension. He has eight penalty points from Wednesday's game. Mutiny D Kevin Anderson remains out with a strained hamstring. The Rapids won their first game May 5, 1-0 over Dallas. Rapids coach Tim Hankinson coached the Mutiny for more than two seasons before being fired after the 2000 season. Mutiny F Ali Curtis is schedule to travel to Durham, N.C., on Sunday to receive his diploma from Duke.

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