Watch: Rafa Marquez sent off in Copa Libertadores for kicking opponent
On a night when Mexico manager Miguel Herrera boldly tweeted that he will release his 23-man World Cup roster on May 9 -- a solid three weeks and change before he is required to by FIFA -- one of the players whom he has called a lock for that roster added another dubious moment to his resume on a grand stage.
U.S. nemesis, former MLS malcontent and current Leon and El Tri captain Rafa Marquez was sent off in the 77th minute of Leon's Copa Libertadores round of 16 second leg against Bolivar Tuesday for delivering a flying kick to the back of an opponent. Leon, level with Bolivar on aggregate 3-3 at the time but trailing on away goals, was reduced to 10 men for the final 13 minutes of the match and was unable to get a fourth goal to extend its stay in the premier South American/Mexican competition.
Marquez, to his credit, has experienced a complete career rejuvenation since leaving the New York Red Bulls for Leon, reaffirming his place in Mexico's back line as he plans on going to a fourth World Cup. But his temper and judgment have been the subject of plenty of criticism in the past -- just ask Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones and Shea Salinas, among others -- and there is no shortage of questions as to what was going through his head as he leaped for a 50-50 ball with his right leg fully extended, making clear and unnecessary contact with the back of Bolivar's Gerardo Yecerotte.
The incident shouldn't jeopardize his place in Herrera's good graces, but it surely calls into question his ability to keep his cool with the greater good of the team hanging in the balance.
Watch the ejection-worthy incident below: