Ah, youth. A pair of U-19 squads, Bahrain and the US, threw down on the pitch Monday at a tournament in Spain. Both benches emptied as coaches and officials attempted to contain the melee.
As a rule of thumb, a player on a team up by two goals near the end of a knockout game should make every effort not to kick the ball into the head of a prone opponent. Rules, naturally, are meant to be broken, which is why we are here. Bahrain led the USA 3-1 in stoppage time of the COTIF tournament when American Pierre Da Silva got tripped up by a Bahraini player. No sooner did Da Silva hit the turf than a second Bahraini player rushed in for a clearance...right off Da Silva's noggin.
Was the kick intentional? It was certainly careless, and it looked bad. And when you're dealing with teenage athletes, that's usually all it takes to start trouble. A pair of Americans chased down the Bahranian player as a third caught him with a shove from behind, and it was on. When all was said and done, four players—two from each side—were sent off.
In non-fisticuffs action, the US took a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute on a goal from Kevin Lankford before Bahrain stormed back behind a hat trick from Abdulaziz Khalid. Team USA needed a win to move on to the semifinals, but now the players will have to go home and wait to see if any disciplinary action will be taken.