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The MLS Hall of Shame: Leonel Alvarez

Background: 1996 was MLS’s inaugural year, so every record set that year became both an MLS season and all-time record. Most of those season records have fallen since, but one still exists. Leonel Alvarez received 14 yellow cards during that first MLS season, and his ugly track record has never been matched. So, I will put him in my H.O.S.

Career: Alvarez, a Colombian, came to MLS to play for FC Dallas, who were known as the Burn back then. Alvarez took the nickname a little too seriously though as he burned oppenents every game with hard tackles, fouls and cards. He later played for the Revs for awhile, but his only lasting impact was his single season card record.

Dishonors: Alvarez was very popular in Colombia due to his physical style, but that same style earned him only ignominy (and a ton of yellow cards) in the states. Of course, the same season he set the yellow card record, he was also named to the Best XI, so I suppose not everything the man did was shameful. But, 14 yellow cards is a ton.

Legacy: Alvarez is the second most capped player in Colombia history (behind my Hall of Fame inductee, Carlos Valderrama), so it is unfair I am boiling his entire career down to a single statistic. But, it is a stat that has stood the test of time, and, like a certain record of Joltin’ Joe’s, may never, ever be broken. So, he belongs in my Hall of Shame.