Monday, October 31, 2011

MLS Fight Night – Rafa Leaves His Marquez

Editor’s Note: Before we even write anything… let’s get this out of the way… Everyone’s favorite American soccer commentator with his best line ever (that’s not really saying much with that), “Marquez fell. Maybe a fly got into his eye.”

Watching Major League Soccer highlights last night one might think hockey season broke out. Sporting KC’s Kei Kamara mixing it up against Matt Pickens and the Colorado Rapids was the nightcap, but the undercard in the early evening proved to be the most compelling.

The American soccer world is buzzing about the post-game handbags between New York Red Bulls Rafael Marquez and LA Galaxy’s Juninho. One of the league’s DPs in a brouhaha with the Galaxy’s midfield cog.

The whole incident (video embedded at the end of the post) started at the final whistle when Marquez, with a history of animosity towards American internationals, threw the game ball at Landon Donovan. There’s been some dispute as to whether the Red Bull midfield was throwing the ball back to the ref or at Donovan, but it seems pretty unlikely that the latter explanation outweighs the former.

Either way, Adam Cristman jumped to Donovan’s defense, leading Marquez and Galaxy forward to exchange poorly thrown punches (Cristman got a good couple of shoves in there, but man Marquez whiffed). Midfielder Juninho arrives on the scene and as both teams involved themselves in the fray and a trailing elbow (maybe? hard to see…) from the Brazilian struck New York’s Stephen Keel. The defender took a theatrical tumble and, Marquez, seemingly mentally attached to Keel, did so too, under some sort of phantom contact from an unknown assailant.

The instigator now became the victim.

Donovan had plenty of choice words for the behavior and play of the Red Bulls squad, alleging their East Coast rivals are a “cheap team”. 

On the plus side… David Beckham was able to avoid getting into the fight. That’s incredible self-restraint from the man.

In the end, though, this is all about Rafael Marquez and his continual immature behavior. The former Mexican international has a bad reputation of for these types of incidents from the Cobi Jones headbutt to the karate kick to Tim Howard. Earlier in the season he criticized his New York teammates for not being good enough and was suspended for a match for the remarks. 

In his two seasons with the Red Bulls Marquez has solidified himself on the “busts” list of MLS designated players, notching just two goals and six assists and generating quite a lot of accusations of being lazy and unproductive for his side.

Red Bull coach Hans Backe deserves some blame, naming Marquez captain upon his return from suspension and rolling out bizarre rosters (16 players, anyone?) and tactics that would (and have) frustrated any marquee player (ask Theirry Henry how happy he’s been this season).

So maybe Rafa wanted to be done with the 2011 season? Maybe he was just tossing the ball back to the ref? Maybe he’s kind of a jerk? 

Either way Marquez isn’t what New York needs in its midfield for 2012 and building for the future (next season the Mexican will be 33) and so why not get it done and over with now. Red Bulls have the money to go out and look for a new DP with less baggage and more motivation. The long-suffering fans of New York deserve better than watching a side struggle and slough through this sort of drama.

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Mr. Fish said…

Could not agree more. Get this waste of space out of MLS>

Anonymous said…

It was cristman with the initial response not juninho.SMH.
Juninho didn't even throw any punches!
c'mon boys get it together!

Anonymous said…

You can even see in the picture that the problem really is between Marquez and Cristman.Juninho is clearly behind Rafa trying to break it up and accidentally hit keel in the face.
Why even take to time to write an article that isn't even accurate!
I love this site!
plenty of interesting stuff going on!
keep it up!!!
(and keep the facts right lol)

Free Beer Movement said…

Thanks for the corrections, guys. Monday morning hangover… yeah.. that's the excuse.

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