Fear and Loathing in Vancouver

The numbers speak for themselves. And they instill fear -- the kind of anxiety you can smell, like a damp dog with a bad case of gas. Forty-seven red cards and 48 penalties in 129 games. No, that's not a summation of Brad Marchand's brief history in Massachusetts State Beer League Footy. Though some have surmised that those figures must be from Brock Lesnar's days at Webster High in South Dakota, they're wrong.

They're the proud accomplishments of a man in black -- a cross between Herve "Tattoo" Villechaize, Ernest Borgnine, and Pennywise the clown.

I speak, of course, of the MLS' travelling gong show that is Baldomero Toledo. And guess who's coming to town Wednesday evening to ref the Whitecaps - KC match?

Some irresistible urge compelled me to check up on who was slated to ref tomorrow. Such urges have just become a little more resistible. The timing of Toledo's encore appearance is rather uncanny. It was a little more than one year ago that we had our first, and what I'd hoped would be our last taste of Mr. Toledo.

Whitecaps fans will long remember the final score in last year's home tussle with the New England Revolution: as reported by, the final stood at Whitecaps 1, Revolution 1, Toledo 3.

This was the famous match that saw Eric Hassli take an undisciplined second yellow for celebrating a goal by peeling off his outer jersey to reveal -- yes, another jersey underneath. Hassli's faux pas was particularly troublesome as it saw the Caps reduced to nine men, after Gershon Koffie had been summarily dismissed on a straight red given on a 50-50 challenge for a header against the Rev's Pat Phelan.

Down two men from the 56th minute mark, the Caps defended well, and were rewarded when Toledo decided to dispense his 3rd red of the night -- giving straight red to New England's AJ Soares on a missed tackle.

At the very least, it bodes well to be an entertaining match on Wednesday. Sporting KC are 6-0 out of the gate, but five of those matches were decided by a one-goal differential. The SKC mantra this year seems to be "Shoot early, and shoot often", as they've amassed 105 shot attempts so far, with 37 falling on goal. They'll be pitting their vaunted attack against a Whitecaps team that has given up only three goals in five matches, all three coming in the recent meltdown match in San Jose.

If irresistible force meets immovable object, and the sides stymie each other, I'm sure that a certain Senor Toledo will be happy to oblige by providing some colour of his own.

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