BY MARC WEBER
The Vancouver Whitecaps snapped their three-game USL-1 losing streak Friday night with a 3-2 win over Miami FC, but no one was talking about that after the game.
Defender Wesley Charles and forward Charles Gbeke almost came to blows at midfield in the 85th minute, apparently after an exchange of words escalated following a missed two-on-one chance for Gbeke and striker Marlon James.
Charles was given a straight red card by referee Fabrizio Romano and Gbeke a yellow.
When Gbeke was subbed off in the 90th minute, he violently kicked the water bottles by the bench and was ejected for his second yellow.
He then stormed off to the locker room to a chorus of boos, and judging by the pace at which assistant coach Todd Wawrousek and a team medical staff member raced after him, there was legitimate concern the confrontation was set to continue.
Charles could miss up to three games for the straight red card as adjudged by the league. Both players could be in far more serious trouble with the team.
"I'm very disappointed," head coach Teitur Thordarson said of the confrontation. "I just didn't believe what was going on.
"It is not normal behaviour from two grown people in front of, not only their own teammates, but the whole club, the spectators. I just feel this a disgrace."
Captain Martin Nash said the way the game ended left a sour taste.
"What they did is a disgrace and there's going to be some repairing to do," he said.
Gbeke should have been in a good mood after a two-goal night.
Defender Marco Reda made it 3-1 in the 76th minute before 10-man Miami pulled one back two minutes later.
It was a strange first half, too, as Gbeke's second goal was protested vehemently by Miami. They had a point. The replay appears to show keeper Kenny Schoeni gathering in and controlling the cross when Gbeke collides with him. It‚s not even clear that Gbeke got his head on the ball, but rather the force of the bump caused Schoeni to throw the ball into his own net.
Miami midfielder Leo Nunes received a yellow card for protesting the goal, and that was significant because near the end of the first half he was sent off for his second yellow after bumping Nash.
Nash embellished and saw yellow, too.
Both Charles — who took the captain's armband from Nash when the midfielder was suspended for the Toronto FC game — and Gbeke are fiery players. Both scream a ton and Charles is frequently animated with his arms after poor service and missed chances at goal. But it's never come to anything like this.
Vancouver heads out on the road for games at Montreal (June 20) and Cleveland (June 23). They'll be in Montreal to watch TFC take on the Impact on June 18 in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship finale.
Anything less than a TFC win by four or more goals and Vancouver will represent Canada in the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
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