Rafa Marquez: Teammates Not “On My Level”

Image / Mike Stobe Getty Images

Maybe it was the embarrassing nature of New York’s 3-1 loss to Real Salt Lake or perhaps it was the supporters vitriol that rained down upon him each and every time he had a touch on the ball. Whatever it was, Rafa Marquez was in rare form last night, taking his vocal on-field character into the locker room in a pull no punches post game exchange with the media.

In a game where his gaffes were minimal, Marquez bore the brunt of the fans displeasure. Coach Hans Backe blamed the “media” for the fans reaction. Marquez, however, seemed unaffected. “I didn’t even notice,” claimed the Mexican captain, who taunted the crowd during the worst of the cat calling. “I focus on my job. I didn’t even notice what was going on with the public.”

What Marquez did notice, however, was the way his team underperformed. “If you watched the game, there were individual errors that you can’t do anything about,” he stated, echoing a similar assertion by Coach Backe in his post game comments. “If we look at statistics, I stole a lot of balls. I think I made two or three bad passes out of 30 plus attempts. I almost didn’t commit any errors, so I am not worried. I think I am playing at my maximum level, and doing everything I can. I don’t have, unfortunately, four defenders on my level that can help me out.”

Asked about the lack of communication on the defensive line, particularly with his partner Tim Ream, Marquez let his feelings be known. “Tim is still a young player with a lot to learn,” he said. “He still has quite a lot to learn, and well, he has committed errors that are very infantile and cost us goals.”

When confronted about the teams lack of urgency after Ream’s gaffe, Marquez was equally blunt. “Well, its difficult when things don’t go well, when you have these types of errors,” he said. “It is difficult for the team to go up after mistakes happened not once, but several times. If we do not learn to stop making these type of errors, we will have these types of results.”

As far as a solution to the problems haunting his side, Marquez was clearly at a loss. “I don’t know, I don’t know,” he said with a desperate chuckle. “We are in the final stages here, and we still haven’t had any reaction. The other day against Dallas, we were very lucky. Today, we weren’t so lucky.”

Clearly, the team looks to be lost in a tactical sense, but the center back didn’t believe a change in strategy would help the side. “Well, it is difficult. It is difficult at this point in the season to change the tactics, but the only thing we can do is push forward with what we have.” He continued. “We have to react when we are losing, and not go down early like we did. We haven’t learned our lesson. We have to leave this game behind us, and try to learn from it the fastest way possible so that we have a chance to qualify. We have to think that we have five finals, and try to play them like so in order to reach something important, because it has been a tough year.”

Though he kept a straight face throughout his blunt assertions, Marquez was most animate when asked if he is happy playing in New York. “Me? I live very well,” Marquez said. “It’s something I wanted, something I looked for. Personally, things are turning out well, but I was looking for that, for a calmer environment, and I am very well. I believe in my performance, I am giving the most I have. Like I said, you can see the statistics and you can see the completed passes I have made, and the balls I have taken away, along with another assist.”

“I think that this is a team game, and unfortunately, there isn’t an equal level between perhaps (Thierry Henry) and myself, and our teammates.”

  • Oh HELL no.

  • Wes C

    Get f*cked, Rafa.

  • svenghali79

    adios senor marquez, por favor.

  • Dave,
    Great coverage of this Rafa debacle. I think, yeah, sure, Rafa may very well be a level above other players on our team, but if that’s true then he has just been mailing it in for most of the season. A sublime assist is cancelled out by lazy defensive play letting a goal be scored. I want to see that “other level” from him for 90 minutes of every match. And we never do, unless, of course, he’s wearing the tricolors.

    But hey, at least he’s living very well.

  • bumbletucky

    Eat a dick.

  • sapo

    Hello dave, it has been awhile and I hope all is well. I just want to say I thought the Rafa signing was going to be a huge one. Just as important as Henry’s. I never thought I could be so wrong. He is a huge disappointment to the team and the league. he has thumbed his nose to the fans and his teammates with this last statement. I take that back. Rafa, you are correct. I don’t think your teammates are on your level. They would never talk about their fellow teammates in public like this or disrespect the fans like this. He is a disgrace to anyone who appreciates the game. Erik Soler, if you and the organization really care about us, please unload this truly unprofessional mercenary and bring in someone who will care about the fans and not just the paycheck.
    Thanks for all your work Dave.

  • G

    Something needs to be done at Saturday’s game. A Tifo, booing, something. Outrageous. Disrespectful. And not true. Keel plays at a higher level than Rafa at this point. What a clown.

    • Mighty Soccer

      “Keel plays at a higher level than Rafa at this point.”

      –no he doesn’t.

  • Gabriel

    Tackless? Yes. True? You betcha. This is the problem with most mls teams. 2-3 good players don’t make a good team. Spend ridiculous money(in mls cap dollars) to sign the aging superstars, and populate the rest of the team with no-name players who can run but not think.

  • dave johnson

    Like I was saying nothing he said wasn’t true. Ream has stunk all year, and there is no one of his caliber out there sans Titi. Don’t kill the guy for speaking the truth.

  • Gino D. P.

    Who conducted this interview?? and in what language? It seems that there is alot lost in translation here. YOU CAN’T TRANSLATE WORD BY WORD specially in SOCCER TERMS because it would sound so bad. Like “infantile” for unforced errors or “same level” for EXPERIENCED!! or “I live well” for I feel comfortable playing and living in NY!!! If those were his responses in English, he should learn how to respond better. From most of the previous interviews I heard from him in Spanish this sounds NOTHING like Rafa Marquez..

    • Dijo Errores BASTANTE infantiles … hay otra traducción?

      • Gerardo Ruiz

        Hey Dave, Ive been trying to locate the audio or video where he talks about his level being superior compared to his teammates, but i cant find it, I work at a TV Station in Mexico, and it would be really helpful if you could help me with that. I already have the one where he talks about Tim Reams mistakes. Im only missing that one. Thanks

      • When you say “errores infantiles” in Spanish it means that the mistakes were the kind you could expect from a unexperienced player. The translation wouldn’t be “infantile” or “childish”.

        • Mighty Soccer

          “Infantile errors” in context means the same as it does in English: a childish error. Neither Spanish nor English speakers could interpret the statement as anything but that it was an error a kid would make, a little league mistake, call it what you want– the meaning is the same. Gringos aren’t up in arms because Rafa said Tim Ream looked like a toddler. It’s because he basically referred to a teammate as unworthy to be playing with him.

          Further, the use of the word “infantil” indicates he didn’t brush it off as a “rookie mistake”, but probably thought it was characteristic of Ream’s play.

          That said, I agree with every single word, in English or in Spanish.

  • Christian

    Who is he to taunt fans and use that language for his teammates? He was signed to be a veteran leader he’s failed to do that and must go ASAP

  • larry

    1. I wish Rafa would retire from international football. I actually think Mexico is wasting their time calling him up. Really, he’ll be 35 or 36 for the next world cup. He is too slow at this point to be affective against non-Concacaf teams.

    2. Since the injury at the Gold Cup, he has not been the same.

    3. Rafa, why did you go there. I think he really really took the booing very personal because no one else on NYRB was booed. And think about it, why weren’t they booing Tim Ream. His error really put the nail on the coffin, because it is not easy to get 2 goals v. RSL. And he’s made other such awful mistakes (Philly). For Ream, I think he’s feels a burden compared to last year where he could play freely, no expectations.

    4. I didn’t think Rafa played that bad, not compared to Solli and Ream. And now my favorite player, Dax McCarty… oh how do you make 225K a year?

    DOES ANYONE BELIEVE DMac STARTING AS ATTACKING MIDFIELDER IS A GOOD IDEA. HE IS a HOLDING MF. Can anyone picture him leading the team, being creative in that role? Where is DeRo?????? THINK ABOUT THIS..SOLER GAVE OUR BIGGEST RIVAL, DC UNITED DeRo (attacking MF) for DMac (holding MF) when we already HAVE a holding MF in Taino (and don’t forget Da Luz for Rost who probably won’t even be living in NY/NJ in about 6 weeks time). And on top of that, Soler & The Red Bulls traded away their second-round pick in the 2013 MLS draft for Stephane Auvray, another holding MF. WTF, Soler MUST have been a midfielder who finished up as a right back!

    From wikipedia:

    Erik Francisco Solér (born 6 August 1960) is a former Norwegian football player, a former football agent and currently a football commentator for Champions League and national team games on Norwegian TV as well as General Manager/Sporting Director of New York Red Bulls on a part time basis. He is educated as a psychologist.

    Read that one more time: General Manager/Sporting Director of New York Red Bulls on a part time basis. PART TIME , Francisco, say it ain’t so?

  • Jeff

    Perhaps I wasn’t watching the same game as Rafa last night but I’m pretty sure he got burnt by the pass for the final goal

  • Metro-211-7

    Yes, I kind a feel some leaks in the translation! However, the core message is there!

    1. His team-mates are not as good as him!
    2. He did play well (many passes and an assist)!
    3. His team-mates give the ball away too often and easily!
    4. He does not deserve to be booed, if any deserved to be booed, it had to bee his back-line team-mates!
    5. You can’t win games if you have to play with these players who do not understand high-level soccer.

    Etc, etc, etc,….

  • larry

    That third goal was a midfield and defensive lapse by a few of the NYRB combined with excellent one touch combination football by RSL, not just Rafa. And that’s the truth. Should we expect more, yes, of course, but we are booing a guy who was swayed by Soler with the promise of a sweet paycheck to live in NYC and play football..who wouldn’t take it. Has all the international games in the Gold Cup and Friendlies plus the injury and his age and diminishing physical attributes hindered his play, absolutely, but he was not the worst player on the pitch last night, and if you say he was, your not being serious. Should he not blame teammates, of course he shouldn’t. The reason NYRB is where it’s at right now = Soler. Then Backe.

    • I agree. Aside from calling out his mates, I agree with Rafa … he had a fairly error free game. The last goal, his back was to Espindola, while Solli had the read the entire time. No communication broke down the entire play, and that can be blamed on both, or simply on Solli who could have called out to Rafa for the heads up.

  • Catamount

    LA Galaxy supporter here. This sounds pretty familiar. Neither our Grumpy (David Beckham) or your Gripey (Rapha Marquez) have ever played in a truly competitive situation except for their national team. There are no easy games in MLS, therefore there are no moments to waste, no passes to squander, no expectation that your team will be better at every position on the pitch. Neither of these prima donna’s know what it means to compete every moment of every game. That’s what it takes to win the supporters shield and MLS Cup. They have always played in environments where their front office determines the outcome of a season. Of course they will blame the front office and the quality of the players, that’s all they know how to do.

  • JJS

    I was at the game. Rafa is delusional. He made very clear mistakes in the backfield as well as Tim Ream. Simply because he fails to accept some blame here shows that he is not the right “veteran” to have on the team. He is right about 1 thing. Ream is young and has a lot to learn. Rafa is not young and is on the decline. Get ready for more BOOs Saturday against Portland. I will certainly be part of it.

    • On The Record

      No booing on Saturday. Marquez has been suspended by the club for one game.

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  • Timbers Army

    I’m praying that the Mighty Mighty Timbers will capitalize on all this Red Bull Sh*t on Saturday! RCTID!!!

  • Chris

    Rafa Marquez had part of the fault on the third goal, people need to be objective and realize the poor marking on Saborio’s goal and the kindergarden Ream present, one of the worst errors in MLS in 2011. The truth is, the game was decided before the partial Marquez mistake; had Rafa not talk to the media that night, Ream would have been the focal point of smack talk but Marquez brought the attention to himself, unconsciously protecting Ream. All redbulls need to get serious if they want to get somewhere this year, there is still a chance for them.

    • larry

      Dave, I read one passage in an article where Tim Ream didn’t even wait around to talk to the media that evening. He bolted. Is that true?

      • It isn’t out of the ordinary. There are many nights where you only see a handful of players talking to the media. Of course, Ream was the major story of the night, and he wasnt around, but to say he bolted wouldnt be right either. Ream is usually one of the most readily available players to speak to on the team. Wouldnt make much of it.

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