Brawl mars Union friendly in Costa Rica


There was nothing friendly about the Philadelphia Union's scrimmage against Costa Rican side A.D. Belen on Thursday.

The match between the two sides had to be called off after a brawl broke out after a Michael Farfan tackle with Belen leading 2-0. Based on video of the fight, Brian Carroll, Keon Daniel and Zac MacMath were at the center of it all before coaches, officials and players separated the two teams. The Union have not commented on the incident since it happened.

Video from the game, including footage of the fight, is after the jump:

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71 Responses to Brawl mars Union friendly in Costa Rica

  1. malkin says:

    pretty weak “brawl”

  2. gbs says:

    why is john hackworth going after their players. Grow up coach

  3. marco says:

    Union midfielder # 20 something started the meelee with a revenge tackle.

  4. Spectra says:

    How come when I see a title “brawl” I think and hope for Ron Artest

  5. JJ says:

    Douchey tackle Farfan. If that player had his foot planted that would have been Brian Mullan all over again. Upset he didn’t get the call a few seconds earlier, so he charges at the guy with the ball. He should be fined and suspended.

  6. Dan says:

    Rafa Marquez so would have won that brawl.

  7. James says:

    The opposing coach is blaming Nowak:

    Belén midfielder José Luis Lopez is quoted in the statement in Spanish as saying: “It was an immature attitude of the coach. From the beginning, they just treated us as stupid and officials. The players were dedicated to kicking and shoving.”

  8. 2tone says:

    Yeah thats a bad tackle. To many of these are happening world wide. He is not the first and won’t be the last tat tries to tackle a player like that. It’s called keeping your emotions in check. You didn’t get the call on a previuosly play then shrug it off.

  9. 2tone says:

    John Hackworth is a horrible coach anyways. There needs to be some punishment served out by MLS. The Union just made the league look like crap. These guys are official representations of the league when in foreign countries. They need act like it.

  10. Twon says:

    We dont know the full story, lets here from the union side first. Its always two sides of a story and the video has been edited, so that doesn’t show what might have happen before the fight.

  11. Frank says:

    Was that Brian Carroll throwing the ball at another player? Suspend and fine him as well. This is not acceptable.

  12. kpugs says:

    Did you not see the tackle? Because that’s all we need to “hear” from their side. Bunch of scumbags, but what else would anyone expect from that cesspool of a city? Too bad we can’t cut it out of the earth and send it floating out into the Atlantic.

  13. boosted335 says:

    what fight?

  14. elgringorico says:


  15. jonfsoccer says:

    It doesnt show the whole game. From experience of seeing other latin american teams ( the dirtiest in the world), I am pretty sure their is whole lot more to this.

  16. AD22 says:

    This. Belen clearly edited the video for content. Would love to see what was left on the cutting room floor.

  17. PurpleGold says:

    The whole team should be suspended for the entire season. This is absolutely disgusting I threw up all over my keyboard when I saw it. They should be ashamed of themselves. Their mothers are probably crying right now. Im taking this as a personal insult and writing a letter to Don Garber. Ive never been so upset about anything in my life ever.

  18. asd says:

    I love Mapp and the guy who throws the ball.

  19. Paddy Megroyn says:

    Mapp’s in Montreal.

  20. PD says:

    First of all, I agree that there are two sides to every story, and I am a Union fan. HOWEVER, engaging in a tackle for any purpose other than to win the ball is NEVER acceptable. He telegraphed that tackle from the outset and it should have been a straight red. Too many good players have had their careers effed up because of a lapse of judgement that is completely avoidable.

    And don’t give me the “boys will be boys” crap. Violence in any sport can be controlled with the same discipline that has gotten these individuals to the professional level. It’s up to the coaches and the officials and the league to demonstrate that there is no tolerance for it through cards, lengthy suspensions and fines. Boys learn how to act like men by observing what it is to act like a man from their peers and mentors they respect. If a revenge tackle isn’t punished, how will the boy learn? And before y’all say “how can you really know for sure?” I get that there is a gray area, but this instance, this tackle, was unmistakable.

  21. Paddy Megroyn says:

    Agreed. While I don’t condone Farfan’s tackle, the player sees it coming and starts his jump to avoid it.

    Funny to hear people calling for suspensions because of this. Makes no sense as it wasn’t an official match.

  22. Good Jeremy says:

    so very true

  23. Paddy Megroyn says:

    Agreed. Hand bags at forty paces.

    As an aside, nothing brings a team together like a fight.

  24. Good Jeremy says:

    MacMath just put out quite possibly the worst body slam attempt ever. Solely on that, he should be suspended an extra game on top of whatever he got. Filthadelphia must be livid after that poor excuse for a takedown.

  25. if Mapp threw the ball says:

    he’s got quite an arm…

  26. chris says:

    Yeah bad tackle but you cant tell what the game was like from this clip.

  27. chris says:

    What are you talking about? He could of slammed his @ss but smartly decided just to push him away

  28. Good Jeremy says:

    He picked him up and tried to throw him down but the guy landed on his feet. After you pick a guy up, you are no longer pushing him away.

  29. mcm says:

    I like how the goalie tosses the little feisty guy. Who turns to swing then thinks better. Never hit a guy twice your size wearing full body day-glow pink.

  30. John says:

    This is the greatest thing I’ve ever read here.

  31. Dinho says:

    Nice. Isn’t exaggeration fun?

  32. JJ says:

    Fine and suspension from the club would be appropriate, and should be encouraged by the league.

  33. Alex J says:

    Referee has some fault in this. The tackle was telegraphed. Could have been prevented. In a friendly there is no sense in not just stopping the game when the two players pushed at each other. I have a feeling, the referee was failing to feel the temperature of the game before this incident as well.

  34. Joe says:

    A few things to the people who are ‘outraged’.
    1. This is an edited video put out by Belin first and foremost and you do not see everything that happens, IF this is everything then you can only blame the Union for this.
    2. Michael Farfan deserves to be suspended for the tackle as it was reckless.
    3. Since there is no audio you cannot ‘blame’ someone for yelling because there is reference as to why they were yelling or what they are yelling
    4. Other than ESPN constantly mentioning certain things about Philadelphia do you actually know anything about the city? Why does it need to wiped off the face of the earth?
    5. MacMath was trying to protect his players
    6. Keon Daniel threw the ball
    7. Brian Carroll, who by all reports is relatively mild mannered is the one seen charging across the pitch
    8. The other teams the Union played in Costa Rica did not have any instances like this happen
    9. The Union actually have an extremely friendly relationship with Saprissa one of Belen’s rivals
    10. Two new additions to the Union are from Costa Rica and played in CR’s Primera Division so there is familiarity there

  35. Eric says:

    Macmath looks like he was just trying to pull the other team’s player away from his teammate (Carroll Maybe?).

    Not a smart tackle by Farfan and I that whole team needs to be smarter since this thing reflects on MLS but I’m now willing to condemn anyone too much. I played four years in college and I know how high emtions can run, especially if you feel like the other team is getting away with cheap shots that aren’t being called. I’m not saying that’s what happened, but that whole incident had the feeling of somethign that had been brewing all game.

  36. Joe says:

    Watch it again, if you TRY to throw someone you will not HOLD on to them. What MacMath did was prevent him from blindsiding his player, picked someone up and twisted him around. He easily could have tossed him to the ground but did not.

  37. Paddy Megoryn says:

    Well reasoned and thought-out list (especially #9) which is unusual to see on the interwebs.

    Just curious, what planet did you come from?

  38. Alex J says:

    Also telling is where the referee ends up during the fight.

  39. nick says:

    nice to see Sheriff Joe Arpaio comments on this site.

  40. Joe says:

    I come from planet Vulcan (ok yes I am a geek/dork/nerd/all of the above). Thanks for the compliment, I try (sometimes fail) to use logical arguments instead of emotional.

  41. Ian says:

    Sounds Novak-y

  42. Brian says:

    I call BS on everyone saying he shouldn’t have done it. You protect yourself on the pitch, and right before the Belen’s player hacked him TWICE with zero call from the ref. From behind with a forearm shiver in the back both times. Less than 5 seconds apart. Good for Mike. You don’t let that crap happen and he stood up for himself. We are a nation of wimps.

  43. welcome to the party pal says:

    well spoken sir. you must be new here! hope you stay.

  44. hope you're kidding says:

    Brain, you are part of the problem.

    You prevail upon the ref. to see what the other player is doing
    You get the captain involved.
    You get the coach involved.
    You and your team walk off the field (just like they did to”brawl)

    It’s only a game and a friendly at that.
    Defend yourself but don’t try to end a guy’s career.
    Do that in a bar and you end up in jail.
    Do that at work and you get fired.
    Do that on certain corners of the town I live in and you get shot.
    Why on earth should it be allowed to happen on a field?

    For what, respect? Standing up for yourself?
    You’re a child.

  45. Gnarls says:

    Yup. No place for that anywhere, let alone as an visiting team in a foreign country. Shameful.

  46. Gnarls says:

    No doubt there’s more to it, but please keep your broad statements within the confines of reality. “Latin American teams (the dirtiest in the world)” gets the ignorant statement award for the day.

  47. Gnarls says:


  48. Gnarls says:


  49. smokeminside says:


  50. Chicano4DaUSA says:

    at first i thought, “are there any mexicans on these teams?” after coming up with “no”, i was perplexed as to why there was fighting. then i thought, “well, maybe some players identify w/mexico in some way”. take for instance donovan & dempsey, they grew up playing w/youth mex leagues. so here’s what i believed happened: michael orozco fiscal’s experience in the mexican fighting leagues rubbed off onto danny califf, who then became a full blooded thug, which then rubbed off to farfan. case solved.

  51. Paddy Megroyn says:

    “Brain, you are part of the problem.”

    This is the post of the day. Please let us know what your brain responds with.

  52. Luis Bueno says:

    Ha the mentality of a chicanito.

  53. TonyT says:

    I’m sure your parents, grand parents and your whole blood line would appreciate that line… they must be so proud of you.

  54. coop says:

    not bad for a soccer fight.

  55. Luis Bueno says:

    This is SoccerbyIves, what did you expect?

  56. coop says:

    he would have started it too.

  57. Luis Bueno says:

    Stay classy America

  58. mmv says:

    Sad to see but crap happens. Learn from it and move on. It didn’t happen in the league or in our country which is bad in that sense it portrays a bad imagine of Philly and MLS. I’m sure the Costa Ricans weren’t angels and they probably played a role in the misbehavior but still you have to be mature and avoid these incidents.

  59. cajun says:

    Shame on Philly and the coaching staff. In a friendly, they’re supposed to be ambassadors for MLS and the United States in their travels out of country. Epic fail all the way around.

  60. Joe Rogan says:

    Actually, it looked like Michael Farfan, who is Mexican American and played in Mexico before signing with the U, started the brawl. He gets fouled, shoves the guy, turns around, runs 20 yards and crushes the guy from the other team dribbling down the field. Horrible hot headed foul, imo.

    Good to see MacMath coming down to add his size. That kid looked pretty big compared to everyone else in the “melee”.

  61. Gnarls says:

    I don’t know, I guess I expect some class.

  62. Chicanito4DaUSA says:

    i come from a baseball family. Some played semi pro in Mex. They could care less for footie, and i could care less for beisbol.

  63. Sad says:

    Coward’s tackle from the Union # 21…

    Doesn’t matter what was edited or not edited or what preceded or didn’t precede the tackle; that tackle does not belong in the game, freindly or otherwise.

    Reminded me of that coward Brian Mullan…

  64. Air Jordanz says:

    Yeah… I was waiting for someone would break the leg off a chair and stick somebody with it.

  65. Air Jordanz says:


    Taylor Twellman and Alexi Lalas agree!

  66. Air Jordanz says:

    Don’t know that “coward” is the right word.

    Still, it was a pretty crappy tackle.

  67. Brendan in Philadelphia says:

    Highly and peculiarly edited video put together by Belen. I’m a season ticket holder for the Union and bring my 5 and 6 year old to every game. The players have been the epitome of class and Brian Carroll has been consistently even-keeled. I’ve never seen him come close to losing his temper. I’m inclined to believe there is MUCH more to this incident.

  68. dhines says:

    seriously dude, either you are trying to be funny (and not) or you are an idiot.