Darren Mattocks has talent. And so very much raw, athletic ability to package up with it.
But the Vancouver Whitecaps’ rookie has some anger in him, too. And it’s proving costly for the struggling sophomore side from Canada.
As I saw the vicious elbow he threw at Portland’s David Horst on Saturday, I was shocked that the announcers seemed to have any doubt about the validity of the red card. Clearly, expulsion was the correct verdict.
Watch below and notice how Mattocks is completely unconcerned with the ball. He’s not looking back for it at all; rather, he’s doing the proverbial “head-hunting” thing.
So, bad on Mattocks, who was sent off after just 19 minutes on the field as a sub in the team’s 2-1 loss at Portland.
But good on Whitecaps’ manager Martin Rennie, who got it all wrong last week when he rejected the notion that his team was having some disciplinary issues. It really was the very height of denial.
So, before you watch the naughty action in question, hear Rennie’s words, as told to TEAM 1410 radio after Saturday’s contest:
“He has had some issues with getting yellow cards and red cards now. The way that he challenges is something that we have talked about a lot and he hasn’t been able to learn from it. Now it’s a painful moment where maybe he will learn from it because for him to improve he can’t be getting sent off…. You always back your players and I think Darren’s a fantastic player with a bright future, but this is something that he has to clean up.”
That’s much better. That’s how you start clearing up this stuff. It’s far better than granting tacit approval by declining to recognize the sins or publicly acknowledge them.