As if Paul Mariner didn’t already have his hands full.
Barely a week into the job of trying to turn around the worst team in Major League Soccer, Toronto FC’s latest head coach now has to turn his attention to criminal defending – although not the sort that has led to the team’s 1-10 league record.
Defender Miguel Aceval, midfielder Luis Silva and forward Nick Soolsma were all arrested outside a Houston nightclub in the early hours of Monday morning on charges of public intoxication, a class C misdemeanour in the Texan city.
All three were taken to jail and released when teammate Julian de Guzman posted bail.
Mariner’s tenure had already got off to a rough start with a 2-0 road loss last Saturday to Sporting Kansas City and the incident Monday will do little to improve the mood on his first trip in charge of the club, with the team in Texas to play the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday.
Toronto FC acknowledged the situation Monday but issued a statement to say that “the team will not provide any further comment at this time.”
According to Victor Senties of the Houston Police Department, officers arrived at Club Escobar around 2:45 a.m. local time, where they tried to disperse a fight.
Aceval, a 29-year-old Chilean centre back, was told to leave the scene but refused, and as well as appearing “highly intoxicated” became “belligerent,” according to Senties.
Silva, a 23-year-old rookie midfielder from the United States, then tried to get involved, but despite being told to back away refused, cursing at the officers and running off when police tried to arrest him, although he was ultimately apprehended a block away.
Both Aceval and Soolsma had abrasions on their faces, which Senties believed stemmed from their involvement in the fight. Senties couldn’t say who they were fighting or who had started the altercation. All three will now be due in municipal court at a later date.
In the meantime, Mariner must now try to get his team’s mental state straightened out before the matchup Wednesday with the Dynamo, MLS Cup finalists last season and already 16 points above TFC in the Eastern Conference race, although you’d be hard pushed to say that Toronto is even in the running.
As Dynamo fan James H cheekily pointed out on Twitter: “Welcome to Houston, where our police officers are faster than your soccer players.”