Hassli pulls his Willie outApril 7, 2011 at 5:45 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 12 Comments
Those of us who have been following the Whitecaps since the 1970’s will remember a player by the name of Willie Johnston. Controversy followed Willie when he played for us. He had a fist fight on the field with a member of the New York Cosmos in a match in 1979. He pulled his shorts down and mooned the Seattle Sounders bench. He took a swig of beer from an obliging fan prior to crossing in a corner kick from which we won a match. He was completely nuts and we loved him.
The spirit of Willie Johnston is back with us in the form of Eric Hassli. The Whitecaps have a new clown prince.
Tonight Hassli pulled a stunt against New England which I have not seen done in football before. He scored on a penalty kick and took his jersey off and threw it into the crowd. He had an identical jersey on underneath. I think he was hoping the referee would not notice. For years now, taking your jersey off after scoring has been a mandated yellow card according to FIFA rules. This referee was not the kind of ref to let this kind of thing go. Hassli already had a yellow card just minutes earlier after bloodying, and possibly breaking, the nose of one of New England’s defenders.
Hassli now has three goals and two red cards in three matches played. After he got sent off we all were asking: is this guy stupid or is he just crazy? It was like a throwback to the gimmicky days of the old North American Soccer League.
A few questions arise: did he discuss this with the team beforehand? Didn’t anyone notice he was wearing two identical jerseys? The whole thing looks like a publicity stunt. Surely Hassli had to know he would be sent off after already getting a yellow card. Is he stupid or is he wreckless? Or is he just plain nuts?
Teitur Thordarson must be cursing his luck. Thordarson has fired players in the past for this kind of stunt, and he must be furious with Hassli, especially after Hassli already got one stupid red card against Philly. Hassli promised to behave himself from then on, so what happened to that promise?
I must say, I love the big man. He brings character to the team. Now if only we could actually see him on the pitch. I think we have seen more of him walking off of the pitch after red cards than actually playing on it. Unbelievable. What a complete nutter!
And we never thought we would see the likes of Willie Johnston again…