Tensions ran high in Wednesday night's Gold Cup quarterfinal. The match featured a scrappy El Salvador side and a (slightly) upgraded USA squad, whose veteran players, absent from previous matches, were in the thick of things on the wet, Philadelphia evening.
Tim Howard produced some fine saves, including a defining moment within the first 10 minutes where he bailed out a mishit (lol, spelling) backpass from Eric Lichaj with a sprawling stop.
Dempsey was busy up front, but lackluster in all, and Bradley helped general the middle of the park without any of his eye-catching, seam-busting runs up the center. But the late minute cameras caught Jozy Altidore the most, who could be seen flailing, romping, and doing his damnedest to hurl his body and Spanish slurs at his counterparts.
Markedly, the game took on heat in the 60th minute when an El Salvadorian defender used his teeth to mark the burly American striker on a corner kick. To clarify, Henry Romero bit Jozy Altidore.
And here's where we discuss... How bad is a bite, really?
Let's push past the idea that this could lead to a viral infection, because this little nibble is neither shirt-penetrating nor piercing enough to cause enough pain for a grown man to crumble to the earth. In fact, the only bite really worth crumbling over is that of the Tarantula Hawk, which inflicts a tarantula killing, human dropping, mega-bite for which the only medical remedy is "lay down and scream your ass off." That's some shit.
I mean, even Ivander Holyfield didn't drop when Mike Tyson chunked the top of his ear off. So what gives with these soccer guys diving when someone comes for a nibble? Is it surprise? Is it shock? Is it that soccer players have the pain tolerance of snowflakes?
The pundits seem convinced that it is an "embarrassing" add-on to the game, but we asked a few soccer fans the question "how bad is biting in football" and came up with some different responses. Have a look:
"How bad is biting? Depends on the game. Men's league I'd fight. Playoff potential and I'd scream and hit the ground." @poppop7
"Biting is a classless move that has no place in sport. There is nothing tactical, strategic, or precedented about it. Every case of biting in sport has been treated as taboo and should continue to be so. What the bitten player does is beyond the point." @scubastevesoccer
"It takes a lot to bring a soccer player to the ground. These guys are built with balance in their bones. But that can be of disadvantage to the bigger guys, who are hacked enough to be put off the play, but stay on their feet so are left to their own devices. Players sometimes discuss 'the right to ground' which isn't, as it might sound, diving, but rather calling attention to a play where the offensive player has been impeded. You're damned right giving someone a bite is imposing on the play. You sink your teeth in me while I'm going up for a ball and I'm either going to ground or going for your throat." @keaneandgiggsy
"There are so many cameras on the pitch these days, there isn't much need to take a dive on an off-the-ball play. If you want the ref's attention, appeal to your captain. If you want justice after some bastard cockjammed you in the 6, wait for the monitors to tell the tale." @fergie4ever
"Bite, stomp, nut-tap, spit. I'll do anything I can to get in these big fuckers' heads. It doesn't take much to rattle these divas nowaday. I used to be able to bite someone's whole cock off before I heard so much as a peep. Now you stick one dry finger up the ass and their whining to their mommies... oh the question was about soccer? You should have made that clearer." @sodomizerstan