Could we have an ordinary match, please?

April 9, 2011 at 1:39 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 4 Comments

The spine tingling excitement of the last three Whitecaps home games have left me in a state of nervous exhaustion.  First there was the overpowering emotion of the historic opening match, a 4-2 victory over Toronto.  Then there was the bi-polar experience of the 3-3 draw against Sporting Kansas City.  Finally there was the bizarre and mind-bending 1-1 draw against New England which bordered on the psychedelic.

I am still trying to recover from Wednesday night.  First of all, referee Toledo did his best to ruin the game by making himself the star of the match. There is no game in sport which can be so ruined by a bad referee as football.   Koffie’s sending off was at least questionable; the replays demonstrate that Koffie did not even see the other fellow coming when he jumped for the ball.  It might have been a yellow for reckless play because he had his elbows up, but it was not a straight red because it was not malicious. Toledo should at least have thought about it, but he is so card-happy he yanked his card out faster than any number of  brain cells can operate.

How it is that Hassli could get a yellow card after a foul on him had just been called I don’t know. He was fouled from behind, and the fellow who fouled Hassli hit his nose on Hassli’s elbow, something which is easy to do when you are about a foot shorter than the other guy. I can honestly say that I have never seen a guy who has just been fouled get a yellow card. But if you are the ref and want to be the star of the match there is nothing more dramatic than showing cards, which is where the ref gets to have all of the attention on him.

The role of a ref in any sport is to get out of the way and let the players play. We don’t go to a match to watch the ref, thanks very much. The best ref is the one you don’t notice, like the guy who did the Kansas City match. Lets hope we don’t see that ref Toledo again, he was pure bush league. Time for MLS to import some refs from England!  Or bring Collina out of retirement from Italy!

The emotional juggernaught that is the Vancouver Whitecaps must settle down somewhat. We have seen lots of fighting spirit and miracles on the field, but it is smart football that will eventually win us games and get us to the playoffs. We have to stop the miracles and freak incidents and get down to playing some serious, smart football.

The Whitecaps have shown we have plenty of character. When we were down two men the other night the remaining nine played in a manner that can only be described as heroic. Jonathan Leathers personified this spirit, fighting all night long. But so far we are not chanelling that character into smart football. It is time for Teitur to get the team to play smart football.

Now we are cut to pieces by suspensions and injuries.  The next few matches will be a challange.  Our central midfield pairing will be missing for at least two matches.  Our engine is in the shop.  Koffie has gone off to serve Ghana, and poor Terry Dunfield has a groin injury.  Now apparently Thorington hurt his calf, on top of the quad issues he has been dealing with.

Apparently Kevin Harmse will start in center midfield on Sunday.  Here is your chance to show your new character Kevin!  Please do not  give the ball away in center mid like you did against the Revolution.

The bizarre incidents and weird behaviour of Eric Hassli must stop. He has to learn to stay on the pitch. Teitur Thordarson now has the toughest man-management problem since the fight between Wesley Charles and Charles Gbeke on the pitch in front of a home crown at Swangard some time back.  Hassli is playing like a man on speed, and Teitur must calm him down and get him to think, if he is capable of that!  Hassli’s ego has gotten the better of him, and Teitur must reign him in so that he can be a net asset rather than a liability.

If he had not got sent off in the two games in which he did, Eric Hassli might have been celebrated as the best performer in the league this far, and we would have three more points to boot!

Please, my nerves can’t take it anymore.  How about some smart football and an uncomplicated win in Houston on Sunday?


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  1. I think Hassli is trying too hard to endear himself to the fans but I haven’t seen much critisism of the coach. It’s the coaches job to instill what is acceptable behaviour on the pitch.
    The referee ruined the game, it was ugly, but strangely engaging, like watching a train wreck.

    • I think Hassli should be trying to please the coach first and the fans second. He has his priorities a bit wrong!

  2. If you look at Hassli’s record in European play you will find that he has received about 35 yellow cards and 7-8 red cards (mostly as 2 yellows) in about 200 games. This clearly shows that he is not a “loose cannon” or filled with ego. There is simply a huge difference between the standard of refs here compared to europe. Hassli said he had never been book for taking off his shirt in the Swiss league and his record bears him out. Why do you find the truth so hard to believe?

    • 7-8 red cards in 200 games is rather a lot, when you consider numerous pros play their entire professional career without getting one red card. 35 yellows in 200 games is also a lot.

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