Hassli pulls his Willie out

April 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…



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  1. Hi

    Hassli is a bonehead, he needs to sit out a few games and read the FIFA rules. He has placed our team down men in 50% of our games. He has score three goals yes but has cost us 4 pts (a tie in Philly becomes a loss, a win in Vancouver into a tie – we were outplaying NE even with the ref as their 12th man). In the TFC game it was not just him who got is the 3 pts. At the end of the season if we miss the playoffs by 4 pts i doubt people will love him much. As it is if he keeps it up I agree with many of the fans around me last night – cut him and secure another DP.

    • you of course know a quality striker who would be willing to come to Vancouver?

  2. This article is great, and exactly sums up my first impressions of the Whitecaps DP. Great talent, poor decision making.

    Point for debate – I think the shirt he pulled off was a long-sleeve version and the one underneath was the short-sleeve version, so not totally identical 🙂

  3. We all were discussing this same thing on the way back home walking up Hastings last night.

    And we decided that he is a bit “nutty” and a true finisher (chipping the keeper on the penal). oddly enough, we found ourselves very forgiving of the big man only because of his strike rate.

    This team if not anything is very exciting to watch, if only we could have got these kinds of crowds to Swangard.

    • He sure seems a bit nutty. I’m upset that he likely cost us 2 pts, but I know I’ll tune in or turn up to watch him the next time he’s playing. It’s about entertainment and he’s been providing that for sure!

  4. Hassli is very talented striker. In 10 minutes he showed more poise and ball control than Atiba did all night. Yes the jersey thing was silly but I do think he really wants to fo well here and was trying in his way Yo sh

  5. Hassli was I think just trying to show his fans how much he wants to impress. Very dumb but this man will destroy this league if he can stay on the field!!

    Eric the red

    • Agree with this very much, Hassli may take this league by storm once he gets the suspension bug out of his system.

  6. I am amazed that there is not more outrage among Vancouver soccer fans about this. I was sick to my stomach that Hassli could be such an IDIOT when I saw this in the stands last game.

    While fans around my were BOOing the ref, I was booing Hassli, and getting dirty looks for it. But seriously, even casual soccer fans know that shirt off = automatic yellow.

    Also, the fact that people are forgiving Hassli because of the fact that he scored a goal makes them FORGET something important:

    HE DIDN’T SCORE THAT GOAL. IT WAS A PK, off of a chance created by Camilo, who generated the majority of offensive play in the game. Hassli had played barely any of the game prior to shooting the PK!

    Seriously, 2 of his three goals could have been scored by anyone in a jersey.

    • Hassli wanted the PK so he could take his shirt off. It was in his mind from the beginning, that’s probably why he has endeared himself to the fans, because all he wanted to do was score a goal and throw a jersey to a fan as a gesture.

      Sure it was stupid, but that’s the point we’re all trying to make… this guy may just be crazy enough to keep us entertained all the way through this season.

      If taking a penal was as easy as you think, then why do even the best players miss sometimes, don’t be naive, potting a goal no matter how easy it looks is much harder than just being at the right spot at the right time.

      Camilo “cervezita” Sanvezzo will get his chance in the spotlight with the fans, trust me, we were chanting his name all game long, its just a matter of time.

      One more thing, Hassli is the Danny Dichio of Vancouver and that’s why get gets all the slack his two goal opening day performance will go down in WFC lore.

  7. What this league needs is characters than fans enjoy watching. Was anyone offended by dunfield jumping into crowd? Do we really need to give out yellow for that? Anyone offended by what hassli did? Yes stupid but really come on???

  8. Hi, lets see where he is a few months from now. It seems many on this thread are seeing Hassli as the warm-hearted rebel when in fact he may just be another Charle gbeke (circa 2009) that “sure he can score but he brings poison to the club” as one Caps insider told me over dinner two years ago. I hope i am wrong but right now i hope Teitur fines his ass to the max.

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