Eric Hassli may have entered the league as a complete unknown, but he's quickly becoming a name you can't help but talk about. He burst onto the scene with a two-goal performance in Week 1. He followed that up by picking up a red card in Week 2. After sitting out a week, he figured he may as well combine those two into one epic made-for-late-night-talk-hosts moment.
Hassli entered Wednesday's match against the New England Revolution as a halftime substitute - possibly as punishment for his previous red card - and picked up a quick yellow. Just a few minutes later, Hassli found himself at the penalty spot after teammate Camilo Sanvezzo was fouled in the box. Hassli cooly finished the penalty and then celebrated by throwing his shirt into the stands.
As it is in every league around the world, taking your shirt off in MLS is supposed to be an automatic yellow. It doesn't matter if you are wearing another shirt underneath, as Hassli apparently thought was such a clever way to get around the penalty. Maybe there was something lost in the translation, but Hassli is also claiming he didn't know about the rule, which is pretty hard to believe.
Making the expulsion particularly guffaw-worthy is that the Whitecaps were already down to 10 men. You can certainly argue that referee Baldemero Toledo could have used some discretion and not issued the card for something that ultimately was not that big of a deal. But if I'm Toledo, I show Hassli red on principal alone. It was just a dumb thing to do and he deserved to be punished.
As a fan, though, I just can't help but be entertained. Hassli is a player you're just dying to see what he'll do next. I'm not sure I'd necessarily want my team to build around him, but he is the kind of player who's great to have in the league.