This is why flares are dangerous

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP6KXF-Og8c"]YouTube – Chicago Fire – Flares gone wrong[/ame]

Folks, this right here is precisely why flares are banned from stadiums . It’s not because “X hates soccer” or the “pigs want to narc on our fun,” it’s because they are a legitimate fire hazard, as shown here in this video from Toyota Park.

I spend so much time these days defending the clubs, police or stadium authorities after they set very reasonable rules like banning flares or smoke bombs (not as flammable, but who can deny that they have the potential to disturb a lot of fans watching the match?). These rules are made for a reason, and I wish more folks would think like adults for a moment and think about the consequences of setting off a flare.

On top of all that, you don’t even have look all that far back to find a disaster caused by a fire in a crowded soccer stadium – only to 1985.

[Hat tip to Offside Rules]

Winners and Losers from the Gold Cup group phase


Stewie’s a winner all right

Winners:

  • Stuart Holden – he scored one absolute scorcher against Haiti and came damn close to scoring a second. With him and Robbie Rogers looking scary good, Bob Bradley’s head is going to be spinning from all the real competition for places on the midfield flanks. This can only be a good thing… unless for DaMarcus Beasley. Sorry, DaMarcus.
  • Chad Marshall – Marshall looked unbelievably good against Honduras and seeing the corpse formerly known as Jimmy Conrad stink it up against Haiti only re-afirms him as a contender for the no. 3 or 4 center back, depending on what one does with Bocanegra. Sorry Columbus, but I think Rogers and Marshall are probably the next to go to Europe – hope you enjoyed them.
  • Benny Feilhaber – He simply has to start at the Azteca, there is no question about it. Has any US player had a more metoric (re)rise over a short period of time?
  • Guadeloupe – Yep, it’s them again. They’ve advanced out of their group with wins over Panama and Nicaragua. We really shouldn’t be that surprised, because they’ve got quite a few guys playing in European pro leagues (not necessarily the top divisions, but still). But can someone tell me why Puerto Rico and American Samoa can try to qualify for World Cups and Guadeloupe can’t?
  • Haiti’s fans at RFK – Win or lose, the group of 80 or so Haiti fans jumping and singing throughout their match against Grenada were having a great time and about the only entertaining thing about the match.
  • Haiti’s jerseys – Last thing about Haiti, but how great are their shirts with the dark red, blue and Monaco-esque diagonal stripe?

Losers:

  • Just about everything and everyone affiliated with Mexico at this tournament. What happened there against Panama was an utter disgrace. That said, if you’re a fan of the US, you have to be loving because all this chaos and mayhem in the Mexico camp just increases the hope that the US could do the unthinkable and win in Mexico City. Folks like John are already hinting that this looks like a squad that is going to miss the World Cup, but I am not so sure. In some ways, this Mexico outfit reminds me of those Brazil teams that were total shambles during qualifying, Copa America, et al, and then come out and play like world beaters when it counts. I am not saying that Mexico fits that role perfectly, I just could see it happening potentially.
  • Kenny Cooper – Say hello to the poor man’s Conor Casey! Has made zero impact in his appearances. Blech.
  • Jimmy Conrad – How on earth did you make Haiti look that dangerous?
  • Freddy Adu – This is covered ground, but the Honduras match made it clear that against any non-minnow (sorry, Grenada), Freddy simply is not ready yet. I’ve defended him time and time again, but right now he still takes far too many ineffective touches on the ball and is far to easily muscled out of matches.
  • Crew Stadium – For getting saddled with the most terrible matches to host (Jam-CR and ES-Can)… I am almost impressed they got the 7,000 they did.
  • Concacaf’s TV production – From the looks of the illegable graphics, cameras covered in vaseline and the overall third world look of things, it looks like CONCACAF has taken a bigger role in the TV production of this thing and promptly reminded me how much worse there was out there than Fox Soccer Channel.