Chicago’s visit to BC Place in Vancouver Wednesday took a scary turn in the 12th minute of a then-scoreless game.
A long pass delivered toward the Chicago Fire penalty area sent Japanese striker Masato Kudo sprinting into the box for the Whitecaps, where he was met at full speed by Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson in pursuit of the bouncing ball. Kudo took a jarring blow on the play and remained on the BC Place turf for nearly seven minutes while being tended to by medical personnel from both clubs.
“It was just a dangerous ball over the top and I was trying to cover the space in behind," Lampson said after the match. "It’s a 50-50 ball and I took it, I had to protect myself in that situation and it was just a freak accident. I feel for the guy, he definitely got the worst of it. I knew right away, we called the staff over immediately and I wish him the best."
“I think Joao (Meira) turned him over, it was a smart move because he had blood in his mouth," said Fire midfielder Razvan Cocis. "His mouth was stuck so I forced him to open it and tried to keep his tongue out and then the medical staff came. It affects you but once the game starts again you have to turn your focus back. I’m glad he’s okay, I hope he’s going to be fine.”
Fortunately, Kudo was alert and aware in the aftermath of the collision and, according to WhitecapsFC.com, was taken to Vancouver General Hospital for further evaluation.
"We’re brothers in the game and I never want to see anybody get hurt like that and I wish him a speedy recovery," Lampson said. "It’s unfortunate but those types of things are part of the game. Credit to the guys on the field cause they responded quickly and no doubt helped him. I wish him the best and credit to both organizations for handling it as well as possible.”
Kudo was replaced in the match by veteran striker Blas Pérez, who went on to net both Vancouver goals in a 2-1 victory for the home side.