[EDIT - inadvertent plagiarism of kgilbert's post here - also, he informs us CPD got rid of mounted police. Well, hell, rent some from the quarter horse fair.]
You probably don't want to hear the director's cut of my opinion on MLS fan confrontational kerfufflery.
Well, let me rephrase that. You absolutely don't want to hear it. I'll just give you the nickel version, and if that still seems to long and agenda-fueled, well, I tried.
All you need to settle the drunkingest fan down is a few mounted police.
Image 1 - correct
Image 2 - incorrect
Visible show of adequate security, preferably mounted security, works wonders.
The horse is important. First of all, no one is dumb enough to mess with a horse.
Never mind that ****! Here comes Mongo!
...okay, almost no one.
Second, short of doing a Light Brigade or Amritsar on random pedestrians, there's a limit to how much face-to-face unprovoked police brutality is possible. There's a higher degree of responsibility among police officers than ordinary rented security, and the responsibility of an officer who also is capable of handling a horse during those situations is higher still.
(God, this is where I feel I have to be long-winded. Yes, there are security guys who I'd trust to do their jobs, who are on the ball, and who are also genuinely cool. There are a bunch at the Home Depot Center, and I'm not saying that because of my allergy to a redcoat bringing me fresh knuckle sandwiches. And yes, the vast majority of police officers, sheriff's deputies, and whatever assigned to these games? Totally professional. But I've seen the minority in action, and I'm sure you have too. But they're not going to put Officer Chris Benoit on a horse.)
Thirdably, cops on horsies are visible, which is what we want our policing to be. This isn't about solving crimes, it's about preventing them. Everyone does 55 miles an hour when the cop car is cruising by, and everyone goes to their cars when the cops are around.
Fourthcoming, horses are fair. I know, your fan group is a credit to the sport, and their fan group deserves to be harvested for organs. I feel the same way. Which is why we don't want anyone with our agendas involved too heavily here. We want Doctor Manhattan regarding us all as black ants or red ants. Except hopefully with less blue penis.
Fifthically, horses are cute. A row of cops is intimidating. A row of cops on horses is a show. Innocent civilian bystanders who just want to enjoy a nice soccer game aren't put off by a display of state power when it's on a sweet adorable horsie.
(Now some of you - it's a tiny minority, a tiny tiny minority, but nevertheless, a few of you - may be tempted to write about how soccer isn't a game for families, but a game to be watched by tough young men and only tough young men. If you find yourself tempted to write something to that effect, whether in the comments or elsewhere, I merely ask that you prove your toughness first by drinking a pint of bleach.
(Come on, just one little pint. You're not a **********, are you?)
The downside of all this is that mounted police are expensive. And they crap. On the other hand, Mr. MLS Owner-Operator, you've sold out the stadium, and you have to clean up after fans anyway. You don't have to do it for every game, just the ones with the obvious rivalries.
And this is your responsibility, Mr. Owner-Operator. It's your park (or at least, you're renting it), and you make the decisions. And while it's tempting to blame the fans, that misses the point. If David Niven steals the priceless Pink Panther diamond while I'm hiding from Cato - the theft is David Niven's fault, but the crime is my responsibility.
Especially seeing as how the next few fanbases to join our little movement will either be regionally rival-focused (the Cascadians) or ninth-generation rageaholics (is there a more ironic city name in the entire universe than "Philadelphia"?). It's about time this comes to a stop.