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Exploring the level of DP failure in Rafa Marquez

Dec 14, 2012, 3:16 PM EDT

New York Red Bulls v DC United - Eastern Conference Semifinals Getty Images

When we talk about Rafa Marquez – and we haven’t quite talked about Rafa Marquez enough yet, have we? – a tendency may arise to toss ol’ Rafa atop the “Failed DP” heap.

I don’t see it that way.

He wasn’t a failed DP the way Denilson (FC Dallas) or Mista (Toronto) or Marcelo Gallardo (D.C. United) were. Those guys were paid lots of money but yielded precious little production. They were total talent busts. At root, they represented scouting failures, or signings for the wrong reasons (more about the splash and dash) or reaches born of desperation.

Marquez was talented, hardly past his prime and still equipped with sufficient skill and enough tread on the tires to add something on the field.

Marquez’s issues during his time of turbulence was all about high jinx and silliness. He was never guilty of “shooting yourself with your own gun in a nightclub” kind of stuff. Nor did Marquez’s naughtiness drift into darker areas that we see with pro athletes, domestic abuse or doping and such.

His problem was never being “all in” for the club. And $4.6 million in annual salary really should buy you an “all in” guy in MLS. (League deciders, please do take note of that for future references.)

Marquez undercut the Red Bulls’ larger ambition with totally unnecessary and selfish nincompoopery. Who could forget the absolutely disgraceful, disrespectful incident following a 2011 playoff contest against Los Angles? Marquez threw a ball at Landon Donovan, tried to start a fight and then flopped to the ground in a badly acted gambit that fooled absolutely no one.

It was an unholy trinity of destructive tomfoolery; Indignation and a deserved suspension ensued.

Nick Firchau summed it all up nicely in this piece:

The biggest problem with Márquez was that any individual moments of brilliance on the field were overshadowed by his periodic willingness to undercut his teammates, incite a childish physical altercation on the field and effectively undermine what the league has tried to build for 17 years.

So, no, I wouldn’t add Marquez’s name to the list of fabulously failed DPs – not in the way we typically describe these fallen figures.

Still, the place where DPs and failure collide is always a topic worth exploring; it’s the whole train wreck thing, how we can’t help but watch one.

So Graham Parker looks at the level of failure in Marquez’s days and nights of tumult around Red Bull Arena.

  1. jam1115 - Dec 14, 2012 at 3:22 PM

  2. charliej11 - Dec 14, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    I was right there with you until I read he was paid $4.6 million….a year. Are you kidding me ?

    So not only did he perform at a level not worth of the over salary cap amount, he was $4.3 million over that ? AND he was a nightmare teammate…one you had to be embarrassed about all the time.

    Wow, you actually moved me away from your viewpoint.

    $4.6 ?!?!?!

  3. crnelson10 - Dec 14, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Rafa Marquez has short little t-rex arms.

  4. mikeevergreen - Dec 15, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Did anyone, at any time, actually expect Rafa Marquez to go “all in” for any MLS club? You’re a fool if you did. This is the same guy who pulled all manner of cheap shots against US players (most notably the one-time Most Hated Man In Mexico, Cobi Jones) whenever the US & Mexico played. I thought Red Bull signing him was absolutely stupid. They got what they deserved.

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