One thing is certain about Rafa Marquez, he will not be up for the Major League Soccer Fair Play award this season or any other year, for that matter.
He has had a career filled with serious incidents of thuggery, some of which had has occurred when wearing the red and white of the Red Bulls. Whether it is has been intentional or not, the Mexican National Team captain’s worst incidents have come against players who play in the red, white and blue.
* The Cobi Jones affair (with my apologies to The Man From Uncle). In Mexico’s embarrassing World Cup 2-0 loss to the United States at the 2002 World Cup, he head-butted Jones in the waning minutes.
* The Tim Howard affair. During a 2-0 World Cup qualifying loss to the U.S. in Columbus, Ohio in February, 2009, Marquez went studs up into goalkeeper Howard while he was catching a cross.
* The Tim Ream affair. Marquez criticized his Red Bulls backline partner last season for “infantile” play.
* The Landon Donovan affair. He threw a ball at Donovan immediately after the 1-0 MLS playoff defeat to the LA Galaxy last Oct. 30, intiaiting a post-match fracas. MLS suspended Marquez for three games, which included the opening two matches of this season.
* The Shea Salinas affair. During a corner kick late in the first half of the 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, Marquez grabbed Salinas and tackled him to the ground. Salinas’ suffered a fractured left clavicle and stated he will be sidelined six to eight weeks. Marquez was not sanctioned. We’re awaiting a decision by the MLS disciplinary committee.
Whether the disciplinary committee holds some or any of these previous offenses against Marquez or throws the book of the Mexican international captain, it remains to be seen.
One thing is certain, though: anything less than a suspension will be stunning and a great disappointment to many soccer observers, media and fans.
You can make a good argument that Marquez has turned into the biggest disappointment for Designated Players in MLS, given his lackluster play and oversized salary ($4.6 million). There have been calls for the Red Bulls to jettison Marquez, release him or deal him out of the league.
Given his ridiculous salary, that might not be that simple. The Red Bulls might have to eat part or most of Marquez’s salary to accomplish that feat.
But in the long run, the team could be better off.
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