Monday, July 21, 2008

Hitting the big time

Man when I first saw this I thought it was more English Hooligan soccer fans.

It was in the United States!

Does this mean that soccer popularity and the World Cup are far behind?

Fans clash as West Ham United beats Crew 3-1

The fights, which overshadowed West Ham United's 3-1 win, began when a handful of West Ham supporters, some wearing the team's claret and blue colors, entered the northeast corner of the stadium where the Crew's most boisterous supporters typically gather.

Crew supporters began directing chants toward the rival fans, and fights quickly broke out between more than 100 Crew fans and at least 30 West Ham fans. Columbus police officers and Crew Stadium security staff eventually separated the groups.

Highway Patrol officers arrested one fan outside the stadium for disorderly conduct, Patrol spokeswoman Anne Ralston said. A dispatcher didn't know whether Columbus police had made any arrests inside the stadium.

This is the second incident Crew fans have been involved in this season. As New England celebrated its winning goal at Columbus on May 24, a fan shouted a racial slur at Revolution forward Kheli Dube, who scored in the 89th minute. Dube is black. The incident prompted a league investigation, with MLS commissioner Don Garber saying that the fan will be banned from league games for life if officials were able to identify him from a video that captured it.

West Ham forward Dean Ashton scored the game's first goal, a blistering low shot that flew past Andy Gruenebaum in the sixth minute.

Forward Jason Garey put Columbus on the scoreboard in the 20th minute, leaping to head home a bending crossing pass from Cory Elenio.

Crew midfielder Brad Evans inadvertently doubled West Ham's advantage by scoring into his own goal in the 26th minute. Kyle Reid completed the scoring for West Ham with a close-range goal in the 53rd minute.

"It was a terrific game for us. We needed that sort of a workout," West Ham manager Alan Curbishley said. "We took the MLS game because we wanted to come to America. We wanted to show people what we're about."