So apparently this weekend, fans of the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes fought inside the stadium resulting in seven arrests, primarily of members of the LA “Riot Squad” supporters club.
To this I say, I pox on all your houses whether in Silicon Valley or the Southland. There is never any excuse for MLS fans to misbehave with each other to an extent that arrests are required. For better or worse, MLS fans are not typically folks arriving to the stadium with little more than an eighth-grade education, feeling like they have little to lose after a 12 hour shift down a mine, in a plant, or collecting welfare. MLS fans are typically college-educated, job-holding individuals with families who, quite honestly, know better than to get in fights with each other.
Yes, I’m sure alcohol was involved but no action (or even loss on-the-field) damages the reputation and perception of American soccer more than fan violence in and around MLS stadiums. It plays into worst, most ignorant stereotypes of soccer than many still hold in this country. Leaders of supporters clubs in this country to have a responsibility to prevent these kinds of events from taking place, and for the most part, they do.
But I’m terribly disappointed in the LA supporters clubs’ leadership when I see statements like the one the Angel City Brigade put on their Facebook page.
Regarding the incident today at Buck Shaw stadium, at no time did any member of ACB leave the Galaxy supporter section or deviate from the security plan. Stadium security, either knowingly or through negligence, allowed several San Jose supporters into the away supporters area who proceeded to cause disruptions… We wish it known that we feel the security at Buck Shaw stadium failed in their obligation to segregate supporters of different teams and provide a safe, secure environment for away fans and supporters.
I really hate that “obligation to segregate supporters of different teams nonsense.” Really, when you think about it, why is that required? The reason, once you get past all the marketing pabulum of “passion,” etc., is that there are still too many MLS fans who find it “thrilling” to ape their idiotic foreign brethren and instigate fights. It’s just not necessary.
Senior members of the supporters, upon seeing San Jose fans inciting their fans, should have marched up the first real police officer (not stadium security goon) they saw and reported the ongoing incident or soon-to-be incident. The fact that any such incident escalated to the degree that arrests were made is a massive failure of leadership on the part of both San Jose and Los Angeles supporters and one that I hope is mentioned to them forcefully by the front offices of their respective clubs.
Did you know fans at Chivas-America games at the Azteca are not segregated? Are you telling me that if fans of Mexico’s biggest club rivalry can manage to sit together those of the Los Angeles and San Jose cannot? It’s nonsense.
We should expect and demand better out of all fans of MLS teams than what we saw in San Jose over the weekend, plain and simple.