If you wondered whether San Jose’s reputation as a blunt object, a physical club that’s never afraid to mix it up and instigate, would change with a new man in charge …
One thing you could certainly always say under Frank Yallop, dismissed last week after five-plus years in charge around Buck Shaw Stadium, was that the manager always conducted himself as a gentleman – even if his players didn’t always do the same.
Mark Watson’s first game as Earthquakes’ interim manager nearly turned into a full-on donnybrook! OK, maybe that’s a little stretch, but the new man in charge got into a verbal exchange outside Denver with Rapids’ midfielder Hendry Thomas. And after the final whistle, Watson and Pareja had their own no-nonsense exchange. Although the Rapids manager definitely seemed to initiate that one, it was surely all about the earlier incident, where Watson kicked a ball from the sideline in the direction of Thomas.
The night was volatile anyway because of Atiba Harris very dangerous challenge early Saturday, where he was rightly dismissed. Truly, he could have easily broken Alan Gordon’s leg.
Plus, the Earthquakes are under lots of pressure now, the reigning Supporters Shield winners but seeing very little go right in 2013.
The coaches weren’t talking about it, but Thomas didn’t mind commenting on Watson afterward.
If you want to see the post-game back-and-forth, check out the entire match highlight here and hit the 8-minute mark.
Below are the two incidents that led to such a ill temper. First up is Harris red card foul:
Then, watch later as Watson kicks the ball toward Thomas. No, this is not something that is going to injure Thomas – but the Rapids midfielder clearly doesn’t appreciate the gesture. (And we should probably mention at some point that San Jose prevailed, 2-1, not too surprising considering they were up a man for more than 70 minutes) Watch: