SuperLiga Semis: Brawls, Bad Calls, Bad Attitudes and an All-MLS FinalBy: Laurie | July 31st, 2008
US teams do not like to lose to Mexican teams. Mexican teams do not like to lose to US teams. As it was, is, and shall be, world without end, amen. And this was never more obvious than on Tuesday and Wednesday nights during the two SuperLiga semifinals, first when Houston met Pachuca, and later when New England met Atlante.
As we’ve discussed before, SuperLiga pits Mexican clubs against MLS clubs. In an effort to tap into the Latino market in the US, all games are played here. And the results are not always happy ones.
A quick summary of the NE-Atlante game:
40 fouls, 11 yellow cards, two red cards during regulation time, and four more after the final whistle.
Add in complaints in both games about the officiating, the field surfaces, the schedule…
And a good time was had by all. Unless you were backing a Mexican team.
HOUSTON DYNAMO 2-0 PACHUCA
This game wasn’t quite as volatile as the game that would follow on Wednesday, but there was still more than enough tension to go around. You can’t really see it in the video, but the Pachuca goal that was called back was actually perfectly legit. Houston may have come back with two, but who can say whether the momentum would have remained the same if the goal had been allowed?
And yes, this game also ended with “handbags.” From the running blog over at Sideline Views:
90 – Barret is shoved down and then when he gets up, gets shoved again. Boswell comes up to defend him and all manner of shoving and insults break out. Marioni gets a card, but others get away with pushing. Marioni was losing it, though. I wonder what he says when he’s that mad. None of the Dynamo players speak Spanish.
90 + Boswell wins the games MVP. The assistant coach of Pachuca has been tossed from the game. Baldomero Toledo, the 4th official, had it with him, I guess.
More shoves and insults break out, Security intervenes. They have to protect the ref, Neil Brizan, but also Ashe, who apparently made some gesture that pissed off Pachuca players. Torres is interviewed and says that the team was robbed a goal, but that they accept the outcome. Calero says little, “That’s how refs are.”
For some interesting thoughts on the issues Mexican teams have with the SuperLiga, check out <a href=”For more thoughts on the work in progress that is the SuperLiga, be sure to check out the Houston Chronicle’s thoughts.
NEW ENGLAND 1-0 ATLANTE
Game summary from ESPNSoccerNet (which also has some interesting thoughts on how to prevent these kinds of brawls in the future):
Atlante did not have as much to gripe about after a 1-0 loss to New England Wednesday night. But the Potros de Hierro went out swinging, goalkeeper Federico Vilar swatting Jay Heaps in face and Revolution coach Steve Nicol in the stomach. Luis Gabriel Rey had knocked down Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph in the 85th minute, earning a red card from referee Carlos Batres.
Atlante disputed a possible handball in the penalty area and could have had a gripe about an offside call against Giancarlo Maldonado in the second half, but did not do enough to deserve a victory. In fact, the Potros de Hierro’s incessant fouling led to their demise, as Joseph scored off one of the many free kicks Atlante gave up.
The video doesn’t show the post-game brawl, but Dave over at AOL Fanhouse has this report:
More than words were thrown, however, at the end of the Revolution’s 1-0 win over Atlante tonight. Atlante ended up getting five, count ‘em, five red cards, including three in post-match scuffle with Revs players. Jay Heaps was shown a red for retaliation — try to contain your glee, Duke haters — seconds before he was shoved to the ground by Atlante goalkeeper Federico Vilar, whom cameras spotted throwing punches the fracas after he got his red.
After order was mostly restored, Vilar allegedly told a Telefutura reporter something to the effect of, “This is a country where you can buy everything, even a game and the refs.” As if it were the refs who magically guided Shalrie Joseph’s clinical header into the net in the 30th minute, or the refs who made Matt Reis so dominant in front of goal.
So now we’re left with with the entire nation of Mexico in a state of fury and two MLS teams in an important final — the New England Revolution vs. the Houston Dynamo.
Whoa. Déjà vu.