(UPDATE: According to ESPN the reason Perez had to be stretchered off the field was because he was "struck by a missle" from the stands. Added photo below)
I'm having a very hard time resisting the temptation to call JOHN JAGOU this morning.
I don't want to wait until this afternoon to get his take on Mexican Coach Javier Aguirre's send off last night during El Tri's match against Panama.
I mean sure, maybe Sven Goren Erikkson didn't exactly get the job done down there but in the "credit where credit is due" department he never kicked an opposing player in the junk, either:
According to Aguirre, using the now-familiar Mexican team player-and/or-official non-apology format, the problem was of course not that he was guilty of doing something stupid; rather, he was simply defending the integrity of the game, serving as sort of an auxiliary referee:
"I didn't have good conduct in those two or three minutes, that in my opinion, were brought on by a waste of time by part of the opponent that tried to defend a ball when the referee had called a throw in. The Panamanian player kept on playing outside the pitch."
And here I thought that things like time wasting and such were supposed to be handled by a referee with a whistle, not an opposing coach with a size 10 wing tip:
"I wanted to stop the ball, there is contact with the player, inevitably because of the momentum that the player had. I lifted my foot too much and I regret that."
So, incidentally, does "the Panamanian player":
I think Mexico's problem is that they need to find another Confederation to play in. CONCACAF simply has too many unskilled players who keep "running into" various Mexican appendages.
For the record, I think sending the Panamanian (Phillips) off was wildly unfair.
His reaction to the attempt to turn him into a soprano is, to me, pretty controlled. You can't quite tell but it doesn't appear that he ever laid a finger on Aguirre. He would have been well within his rights to waste him on the spot.
The fun starts at about the 1:50 mark. Judge for yourself:
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCWeHfABLbk"]YouTube - Mexico Vs Panama RESUMEN FINAL Copa Oro[/ame]
As for the rest of the game, let's let the AP describe the action:
Referee Joel Aguilar ejected Aguirre and whipped out a red card to give to Phillips as fans littered the field with cups of beer and other objects.
Phillips was escorted off the field by a swarm of police — and pelted with beer as he ran into a tunnel — and after about 15 wild minutes, play resumed.
A fight then broke out between two fans in the front row across the field from the benches and Houston police officers moved in to separate them. Police handcuffed at least two fans in the area.
...Perez was injured on the field in the 90th minute and medical staff brought out a stretcher. As Perez was carried off the field, Mexican fans unleashed another barrage of cups and beer bottles and Perez fell off the stretcher.
The game ended about five minutes later and the Panamanian team lingered on the field to let stadium officials drive off the fans.
In other words, this was just another day in the life of the Mexican National team. Hey, it's all in the spirit of sportsmanship.
If somebody has John's phone number, would you mind waking him up?
UPDATED: ESPN says: "... Blas Perez, scorer of the Panama goal, was struck by a missile from the crowd in the final minute. After receiving treatment, he was hit again as he was being stretchered off."