There is a fine line between physical play and just plain dirty and that line was blurred on Wednesday during Monte Vista’s 2-1 win over De La Salle in the semifinals of the 3A NCS playoffs.
There was lots of shoving, elbows, guys falling on other guys, players pushing opposing players, stare downs, cursing, trash talking (between parents and coaches?), dads having to restrain their sons, yellow cards galore.
If the teams’ wanted to play rough then a rugby match would be in order. Rarely, and I mean RARELY, were there any sequences where touch passing was involved, or the ball was kept on the ground for a considerable amount of time. The whole 50/50 ball and throw-in/set piece kick into the box style isn’t easy on the eyes for soccer fans and gets old real quick. Plus, it leads to a considerable amount of contact and people can get hurt, both physically and emotionally. How? The physical part is obvious, but emotionally, guys have pride and when another dude plows into them, they usually won’t let it slide that easily after the umpteenth time. Thus, tensions rise and we have a street fight on our hands. Nobody wants to see that.
Maybe that phsyical type of soccer can win you games, but please give me the one-touch soccer, the finesse soccer, the soccer that makes you say "WOW" for a fantastic skillfull play, and not because some kid just receieved an elbow to the chin and has to sit out.
It is matches like DLS vs. MV on Wednesday that make the line between tough and dirty nearly disappear.