A look at MLS bad boy Steven Lenhart

StevenLenhart (Getty)

By all accounts, Steven Lenhart is a laid-back and mellow person off the field. Someone who enjoys surfing and is considered quiet by most who know him.

On the field, the San Jose Earthquakes forward is something else entirely.

Lenhart has fashioned a well-earned reputation as a bad boy, a villain, the kind of player who spends as much time getting under his opponent's skin as he does actually playing the game.

On Saturday, Lenhart reminded us there's more to his game than just being a pest. He can also score big goals. Lenhart delivered two of them in San Jose's 2-1 road victory against Philadelphia on Saturday night.

I focus on Lenhart in my latest Fox Soccer MLS Rewind, with comments from Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop and star striker Chris Wondolowski about a player who might be second only to Rafa Marquez on the most-hated player list.

Give the story a read and let us know what you think of Lenhart. Think he's a good player? Hate his on-field antics? Do you enjoy seeing him get under people's skin?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in MLS- San Jose Earthquakes. Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to A look at MLS bad boy Steven Lenhart

  1. scott says:

    i think Lenhart’s game against seattle 2 weeks ago was amazing. I’m glad to see him score against Philley as well. I don’t care for wither of those two teams. I think SJ is playing great at the moment. I hope they can continue because they play very entertaining soccer.

  2. A wise man once says:

    Most hated players in MLS:

    1. Rafa Marquez
    2. Stephen Lenhart
    3. ???

    Any ideas?

  3. Aljarov says:

    Amazing as in what an incredible way to dupe a ref into giving a PK? RSl – repeat process to draw piss poor red card on Olave.

    MLS should punish him, not reward him. By rights he should have been suspended for this game

  4. scott says:

    1. Rafa Marquez
    2. Rafa Marquez
    3. Rafa Marquez

    … you get the idea.

  5. curmudgeon says:

    I think if the MLS Disciplinary Committee was as consistent as they keep insisting they are, then Lenhart would have missed the last match for diving and thus wouldn’t have been able to score those goals against Philadelphia. Mind, I’m happy to see Philly lose, so it’s all good.

  6. Dank says:

    Players like Lenhart make the game less fun to play, which in turn makes the game less fun to watch. MLS should do everything in their power to neuter his tactics, and if that means labeling him a “repeat offender” and suspending him for little things others would get away with, then so be it. Players of his ilk are bad for the future of pro soccer.

  7. Aaron in StL says:

    Wonder if he’d be so hated if he didn’t look so doofy.

  8. David St. Hubbins says:

    he has one of the best first touches of a target man in the league… significantly improved since his early days in the league.

  9. David St. Hubbins says:

    both of those were 100% good calls… they may have been a bit on the softer side but no one was duped.

  10. marco says:

    Agree, how could the MLS Inquisitioners miss Big Bird?

  11. Paul says:

    Here’s the thing… Lenhart’s game isn’t soccer. It’s psychology. I pay to watch soccer.

    This, I think Lenhart’s is a giant douchenozzle.

  12. Ryan says:

    love to hate him

    as close to a villain among MLS fans as anybody not named Rafael Marquez – nice on Ives!

  13. Vic says:

    He should be called up for all US games against Mexico to even out the cheap shots.

  14. Poo says:

    amerikwa (sp) from Colorado is pretty annoying….

    but, right up there with #1 & 2 above is Wells Thompson – the ‘holy hack’.

  15. john.q says:

    he may be a badass… but he’s the goofiest looking dude in MLS. get a hair cut man!

  16. Poo says:

    No can do, not caps made to size to fit over the cabbage patch kid afro he rocks!

  17. BSU SC says:

    He’s tough, but I refuse to call anyone with a blonde fro a “bad boy”.

  18. Ryan Pizzuto (@ThePizzaSavior) says:

    3. Jeff Larentowicz

  19. werner says:

    he’s a great guy off the field. Lots of service in the community.

    Maybs the Metta World Peace of MLS.

  20. David St. Hubbins says:

    go back in your cave you have no idea what a dive is

  21. Graham says:

    The Committee has to vote 5/5 members to review the play. If one of them has a doubt, and as we have seen by opinions on the previous weeks PK there are, than they don’t rule on it. Therefore, its not surprising they didn’t give ban.

  22. Judging Amy says:

    I see a biopic (Semi-Pro style) starring Will Ferrell in your future Mr. Lenhart

  23. bcoug says:

    This is my primary complaint with Lenhart, particularly when he’s playing in a match that I have no direct rooting interest in. He brings the quality of play down and makes the match less enjoyable to watch.
    If I was a SJ supporter I might tolerate it because he helps them win. But as a fan of the game, he’s horrible.

  24. A Coach says:

    Carlos Ruiz…even if he’s not in MLS anymore.

  25. A Coach says:

    If I had Lenhart on my team, I’d make him run laps til he puked. My middle schoolers have more character on the field than this guy.

    Glad he got two clean goals though – shows what he can do when he’s not being an idiot.

  26. Seriously says:

    SJ fan?

  27. Quakes87 says:

    Yea those 2 goals were really bad quality. And that assist on the called back goal was so not quality.

    Yea, he’s a hothead on the field. He’s passionate. To see him come back from his injury and prove the haters wrong in Player of the week fashion was just great.

    I hated playing him on the crew because he was so big and physical. Glad he’s on my side.

  28. Quakes87 says:

    I don’t think he would throw elbows when the ball isn’t in play around him.

    Maybe the Raja bell of mls.

  29. Camjam says:

    David St. Homer

  30. Isaac says:

    Yeaaaaah Ben Olson almost tore that Thompson kid a structurally superfluous new behind in a game between DC and New England a few years ago ( the year Olsen retired if I’m not mistaken).

  31. EARL says:

    YES! i hate jeff.

  32. bcoug says:

    Maybe the POW is just what he needed then – first week this season where he doesn’t play like a complete a** throughout and he gets rewarded for it. I hope it motivates him to play a better brand of ball more consistently.

  33. sciroccer says:

    Does anyone really care when you think about it- Are anyone of you going to remember the POW for every week, a month from now you won’t. He sucks, he should’nt be in the MLS.

  34. sciroccer says:

    HA HA HA! That’s a good one, Oh wait? You were serious???

  35. Swift says:

    What dive are you talking about. I’m not talking $hit I’m honestly curious? THe seattle PK was 100% correct and the Seattle player even admitted to forcing contact in the box because he was mad from a previous play. The RSL was soft but he jumped right back up and tried finishing the play, how is that a dive? I hate divers as much as the next person but I honestly don’t see it with Lenny. His problemis he play 110% 100% of the time and other players can’t keep up.

  36. sciroccer says:

    Good for him, I could care less. If he’s that nice off the field, let him stay of the field. Cuz he’s a jerk on it!

  37. Swift says:

    I guess you coach womens soccer do you teach them to apologize on a clean tackle also?

  38. Matt says:

    I enjoy watching Lenhart win games for his team. He’s scrappy and he throws the other side off balance, and best of all he’s not dirty. Rafa Marquez is dirty – Lenhart is just annoying.

    Most of the people claiming Lenhart is bad for the league are fans of other teams so why should I care what they think. Kiss my butt RSL fans, Seattle fans, and Philadelphia fans.

  39. Matt says:

    I agree completely with you. He really brought down the quality of the match by scoring 2 of the 3 goals in the match (a fourth one was ruled offside in a blown call by the linesman).

    I know how annoying it is as a neutral to watch a match and see goals scored and the lead changing hands. You must have been so disappointed!

    LOL at you and your opinions BTW.

  40. Matt says:

    I also pay to watch soccer and Lenhart was fantastic on Saturday.

    Not sure what you mean by “This,” but your post was as poorly formed as your opinion.

  41. Matt says:

    ^^ RSL fans are such cry babies.

  42. Matt says:

    That’s why you’re in the big leagues, huh “A coach”?

  43. JogaBonito says:

    I wish I could be as sanguine as you guys; I had a rooting interest — I went to the SJ home-opener and actually paid money to watch them; after watching Lenhart, I decided I will never watch this team again.

  44. Luis F says:

    Larentowicz is No. 2 on my list behind Lenhart. Marquez is hurt or suspended too much to hold the top spot.

  45. divers suck says:

    Maybe a little homer bias but I’d have to add Brian Mullan to that list.

  46. troy says:

    If Lenhart was on your team and you tried to do that, he would just deck you in the face

  47. golden tee champion says:

    Steven and his haircut bear a great resemblance to Brazilian and Roma soccer legend Roberto Falcao.

  48. Indigo Montoya says:

    Lenhart rocked. Not sure if you watched the same match.

  49. Quakes87 says:

    Of course noone cares what I think. Im a fan, not Ives.

    At least I don’t make generalized blanket statements with no evidence saying that he sucks. So he got kicked by a Seattle player, and tackled another player. I won’t remember he won POTW, but every time I see him play I will feel the heart and fight he has to win. The heart of a Quake and a feeling I haven’t felt since 2005.

  50. Aaron says:

    Ok he may not have the most technical skill. But he has gotten so much betterhan where he was years ago. But you can’t say that he is not fun to watch. Anyone with that much energy and passion is great to watch. Yeah he gets under people’s skin, that’s what a good player is capable of doing. He is a workhorse and his teammates love it. The other teams hate it cause he can annoy. He is far from dirty as others are. He knows what he has to work with and uses it to his advantage, I think others hate because they don’t have it and want what he has. I would take Lenhart on my team anytime.

  51. Chupacabra says:

    Says the patron saint of quality footwear.

  52. Rambler says:

    How can anyone write an article on Steven Lenhart and not mention that he took several months off from the season last year to recover emotionally from the death of his father and that he has come back playing like never before?

    There’s a great story in there somewhere but the article missed it. Completely.

  53. Idaho Brian says:

    I can’t stand Lenhart…but I suspect every hater here, (myself included) would love to have him giving his all for their team. He is a guy you would love to play with, and despise playing against.

  54. troy says:

    you said it perfectly. i didn’t like him much when he was with columbus, but have grown to love him for SJ. relentless worker and great in the air. decent touch for a target type player. and he actually has pretty good vision to make the final pass. sure he has done some stupid stuff, but neither of the controversial calls this year were dives in any way, shape, or form. the ones that hate lenhart most are the ones that get beat by him

  55. john.q says:

    his head looks like he dipped it in elmers glue and poured a bucket of popcorn on it. light butter.

  56. john.q says:

    some butter got on his face and tanned it a little bit. like kramer on seinfeld.

  57. Pepe says:

    Marcelo Saragosa

  58. DressedToGetBlessed says:

    Lenhart is an absolute beast in the air, and he works tirelessly for his team. I’m an RSL supporter, but I think he’s fun to watch.

  59. Neruda says:

    Lenhart doesn’t need to change. It’s the refereeing in MLS that does.

  60. Joe from Philly says:

    I gotta say that I don’t think I ever even heard of him before last weekend. I remember the “please pay attention to me” hair, but I didn’t notice him other than that.

    That said, he and that tiny rocket guy who came in with him, made punks out of our back line on Saturday. Sad, (for me at least) but true.

  61. Bill says:

    As a Crew fan who is dying for them to put it in the ol onion bag, I’d give my left arm to have Stevie back. Push, pull, dive and scream your way to a goal. At least Lenhart has a desire to compete. MLS needs more personality guys like Lenhart.

  62. Jazzy says:

    And I’m sure these same RSL fans LOVED Malone and Stockton’s Jazz–the dirtiest, floppiest, and complainingest NBA team of the ’90s.

    I personally enjoy watching Lenhart. His hold-up play is quality and aids the flow of SJ’s offense. If CBs in the league can’t stand a forward who dishes out as much as he takes, they can suck a carrot and deserve every foul their child-like dispositions lead them to commit.