The LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire played out a 1-1 slugfest yesterday at Toyota Park, in a game which was not an encounter for football purists. The match took place in heat measuring over 90 degrees in what was the hottest day of the year in Illinois and the humidity took a massive toll on the players and the quality of soccer on the field.
Dan Gargan came off worse than most in what were gruelling conditions. The 31-year old Galaxy defender had to be substituted off in the first half with heat exhaustion, such was the effect the climate had on his body after one too many runs from fullback.
The match was a bore fest in all with players un-prepared to make bursting runs forward and after the match, LA captain Robbie Keane was clearly incredibly frustrated with the decision to let the game go ahead.
“I don’t know who makes these fucking stupid decisions! Play a fucking game at three o’clock in the afternoon," Keane said to Adam Serrano. "Who wants to watch that crap? Do you? I don’t want to watch that crap. These people who haven’t got a clue about soccer make these decisions when we play a game. Why not play at eight o’clock? It wasn’t on national television."
"It’s so stupid. They need to look at these games and use their head and be clever. No player wants to play in that humidity. Everyone was affected by the heat. Why would you want to play at three o’clock in the afternoon?" the Irishman added.
The Chicago Blackhawks were facing off against the LA Kings in Game 7 of the NHL conference finals, which apparently was the reason the game had to kick off in the middle of the day to avoid a clash.
Keane said exactly what he thought of that notion however:
"On the hottest day of the year so far here in Chicago, knowing it is going to be that hot. And you can’t blame the Kings-Hawks game because you didn’t know that was going to happen until two days ago. This is absolutely ridiculous. We have to stop. We have to listen to the players instead of listening to people who have never kicked a soccer ball in their whole life.”
Keane has every right to be annoyed. Player safety has to come before everything else, and making the two teams line up in those conditions is unsafe bordering on barbaric.