31 July 2008

"I went to a fight, and a soccer match broke out"

Did you ever think that old hockey joke would make its way to the soccer fields of America?

If the two SuperLiga semi final matches are any indication of the current emotional state between Mexican and American club football, then I'm afraid unless something is done, the SuperLiga tournament will continue to have this major black eye (and bloody nose, and busted mouth, etc.)

While Pachuca had a case to feel hard done after losing to Houston, certainly they had no excuse to rush the referees and last night's eruption by Atlante after losing to New England was just plain bizarre.

I'm of two minds about it. I love a heated rivalry, which is what we have now between Mexican and American teams, but the sport is football, not MMA. I'm a huge fan of both, but I don't expect my MMA fighters to start heading a soccer ball anymore than I want to see footballers throwing punches.

Perhaps it's the fact that American soccer has reached parity with Mexican soccer (in terms of skill if not popularity). Perhaps it's the complex national political and social relationship between the two countries. Perhaps it's the centuries old history of a shared border or a combination of all three, but maybe it is time to institute some kind of détente policy between MLS and Primera División? What that policy would be I have no idea.

I guess the question is, can the rivalry exist without the animosity? Maybe, Maybe not.

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