Rafa. The name has become a one word insult around MLS and U.S. Soccer circles and the legend grew on Sunday. New York Red Bulls midfielder Rafa Marquez was in the center of a postgame fight - if that is what you can call it - following the LA Galaxy's 1-0 victory over New York at Red Bull Arena on Sunday.
Marquez caught Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders' punt in mid-air as the final whistle blew and through it at Galaxy captain Landon Donovan, striking him in the lower leg. LA forward Adam Christman then shoved Marquez, New York defender Stephen Keel stepped in, Galaxy midfielder Juninho got involved and, as ESPN commentator John Harkes suggest, perhaps a fly flew into Marquez's eye. It looks like he was shot dead by an invisible bullet. Take a look:
To get a better appreciation for the dive of all dives from Marquez, check out this slow motion close up. For their parts, Marquez and Juninho were shown red cards following the game. As many have suggested, it is probably benefits the Red Bulls to be without Marquez.
Los Angeles, however, will miss Juninho greatly in the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on Thursday.
Juninho is an integral part of the Galaxy and has scored sever big goals this season, most recently the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over CD Motagua to advance LA to the knockout round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
One thing is for sure: Thursday should be another heated battle. Sunday's game saw just two yellow cards issued (LA's Sean Franklin and New York's Thierry Henry), but it was chippy from the start. Donovan said he had never encountered a "cheaper" team than New York.
Tempers should be evident on Thursday, as well. New York should expect some type of harsh welcome from Galaxy fans who listened to "F*** LA" chants on national TV on Sunday.
Who (especially Galaxy fans) could forget Marquez's blatant attack on Cobi Jones in Mexico's 2002 World Cup Round of 16 loss to the United States: