Carlos Bocanegra reacts to Rafa Marquez’s red-card foul on Tim Howard during World Cup qualifying in 2009. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
On Sunday, Rafa Marquez became only the third player in World Cup history to participate in three World Cups, joining former MetroStars defender-midfielder Lothar Matthaeus and ex-Mexican goalkeeper Antonio Carbajal.
By Michael Lewis
In one respect, it’s a good thing that the United States isn’t participating at the World Cup. There would be a good chance that former Red Bulls defender-midfielder Rafa Marquez would be involved in an incident with a U.S. player in the knockout round.
He has a long rap sheet when it comes to U.S. players in international soccer and Major League Soccer over the past 16 years.
Marquez could not have another rap sheet off the field. The U.S. Treasury Dept. has accused the former Red Bull and several of his businesses of holding assets and acting as fronts for a man it alleges is the leader of a drug trafficking organization. That group is headed by Raul Flores, who also known as “El Tio.”
Until he scored the winning goal in Mexico’s 2-1 victory over the United States in a World Cup qualifying game Nov. 11, 2016, it was mostly a history of violence.
With Sunday’s World Cup qualifying confrontation between these two CONCACAF rivals on tap for Mexico City, here is a quick look:
* The Cobi Jones affair
In Mexico’s humiliating World Cup 2-0 loss to the U.S. at the 2002 World Cup, he head-butted Jones in the waning minutes.
* The Tim Howard affair
During a 2-0 World Cup qualifying loss to the U.S. in Columbus, Ohio in February 2009, Marquez went studs up into the goalkeeper while he was caught a cross.
* The Tim Ream affair
In October 2010, Marquez complained about defensive partner Tim Ream’s “infantile” play, earning the wrath of fans and media.
* The Landon Donovan affair
Immediately after the Red Bulls dropped an MLS playoff game to the LA Galaxy on Oct. 30, 2011, Marquez threw the ball at Donovan, starting a melee. Marquez was slapped with a three-match suspension — one for the red and two added one by the league — forcing him to miss the final game of the aggregate goals series and the first two games of the 2012 season.
* The Shea Salinas affair
During a corner kick late in the first half of the 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena April 14, 2012 Marquez grabbed Salinas and tackled him to the ground. Salinas’ suffered a fractured left clavicle and said he will be sidelined six to eight weeks. Marquez was not sanctioned by referee Ricardo Salazar during the game. However, he was given a three-match ban, although Quakes general manager John Doyle wanted Marquez to sit for five games.
* The Hans Backe affair
At halftime of the Red Bulls’ playoff tie at D.C. United Nov. 3, 2012 Marquez threw a tirade at coach Hans Backe and in front of the team in the RFK Stadium locker room about Costa Rican defender Roy Miller replacing him after the Mexican went out with a calf injury.
* The final affair (aka the final straw)
And considering his history, Marquez’s final act as a Red Bull was quite appropriate. He incurred his second yellow card from referee Mark Geiger after a clumsy challenge in the 75th minute at Red Bull Arena, forcing New York to play to 10 men in what turned into a 1-0 playoff elimination defeat to D.C. United Nov. 8, 2012
Marquez is the only player in the 22-year history of MLS to end back-to-back playoffs with red cards.