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June 9, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Is it fair or foul to wind up Whitecaps forward Eric Hassli?

hassli.jpgPhoto credit: Jeff Vinnick, Getty Images

Whether deserved or not, Vancouver’s designated player Eric Hassli has already developed a bit of a reputation in MLS. Certainly earning three red cards before the halfway mark of the season will do that.

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid called Hassli “temperamental” today after training. I’ve also heard “hot-headed” and “loose cannon” in descriptions of the big Frenchman and there are other examples out there I’m sure.

So here’s the question: Is it fair to try and wind Hassli up in Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. rivalry game at Qwest Field? Or is playing him straight-up (free of any shenanigans) the sporting thing to do?

I asked Seattle defender Jeff Parke, who might get matched up often with the 6-foot-4 forward, if the three ejections come to mind.

“You think about it,” he said. “You don’t want to bait him, but it’s in the back of your mind: ‘Should I do that? So I take one for the team or something?’ It does suck just going in there and taking a whack and maybe being taken out of the game, but maybe taking him out as well. He’s dangerous forward, and strong and good in the air. It’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be another Conor Casey, basically. He’s a good player and he’s getting most of the goals for them. Dangerous for sure.”

Schmid was asked a similar question.

“He’s a good player,” he said. “He’s a big guy. He’s a strong forward. We have to be aware of him. We have to make sure we stay with runners when balls get played up in the air to him because he can flick things on. The last red card he got I didn’t think was a red card. In fact I don’t even think he clipped the guy. To stop some of that I think the league needs to go back in and say, ‘Look, this guy embellished,’ and suspend the guy or fine him and you’ll get rid of that. But yeah, he’s maybe a little temperamental. Certainly we’re not going to go out there trying to encourage his temperament, but we’re not going to discourage it if he’s temperamental.”

What do you think?

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