Physical confrontations emerge in all different high school sports occasionally, and with pressure highest in the playoffs, it's no surprise that a season's most important games might be a bit more chippy than others.
Soccer is certainly no exception, as we learned once again earlier this week, when a Texas goalie ran out from his cage and absolutely leveled an onrushing opposing forward as if he were a linebacker.
The culprit in question in the clip above is Irving (Texas) High's goalie (a thorough web search couldn't pull up his full identity), who took out Mansfield (Texas) Legacy High striker Josh Rodriguez on the play. Quite deservedly, the Irving keeper received a second yellow card for the challenge, which landed him a red card and a dismissal from the game. One has to assume that if he wasn't already playing on a yellow card he would have received a straight red for the "challenge."
The hit that befell Rodriguez was just one of a handful of different physical challenges in one of the more aggressive soccer games in recent Texas memory. According to the Mansfield News-Mirror, around 12 yellow cards were dished out in the course of Legacy's 2-1 win, with neither team openly regretting the way that a playoff soccer game occasionally devolved into a near rugby scrum.
"We had heard from physical teams in our district that Irving was a little dirty and very physical," Mansfield Legacy's Andrew Bach told the News-Mirror. "So we said, all right, if they are saying that Irving is a physical team, we knew we had to step up our level of play."
Evidently, Bach and his teammates interpreted "stepping up their level of play" as dishing out as much punishment as they received. If that was the goal, mission accomplished.
Of course, soccer isn't the only sport in the Lone Star state that has had discipline problems in the span of a week. As pointed out by all-hockey compatriot blog Puck Daddy earlier this week, the Texas State Championship game between Keller (Texas) High and Arlington (Texas) Martin High featured one of the most brutal, "nonsensical" brawls seen in recent times, complete with the intervention of security personnel and dramatic injuries -- a concussion and broken jaw -- to at least one of the players involved.
Local police are still considering the possibility of bringing charges in the hockey brawl, a fate which should be avoided for all those who picked up yellow and red cards in Legacy's soccer victory. All we can hope is that both incidents remain isolated ones, rather than playoff templates for sports that are still too often marginalized in Texas.