Passion play for TFC coach

Toronto FC Midfielder Laurent Robert gets airborn a few feet from the Columbus Crew goalkeeper...

Toronto FC Midfielder Laurent Robert gets airborn a few feet from the Columbus Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer and defender Ezra Hendrickson after a missed opportunity during first half MLS game in Toronto, May 17, 2008. (Alex Urosevic/Sun)

BILL LANKHOF, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

The dry statistics will say that the Columbus Crew tied Toronto FC 0-0 yesterday at BMO Field.

TFC's Laurent Robert hit the post in the 60th minute and Guillermo Schelotto of the Crew spent more time kissing dirt than a 2-year-old in a sandbox.

Ho-hum.

Then, TFC coach John Carver opened his mouth. Forget the walk. This game was all about the talk.

First, the Schelotto affair. The league's leading playmaker went crashing to the ground on at least a half-dozen occasions. By the seventh minute, he had been stripped of the ball by Marco Velez and was in the face of a linesman. By game's end, he was being booed and got into a contretemps with Toronto defender Carl Robinson.

"Good players try to make free kicks and that was what he was trying to do. He thought he should've had a few and he got rattled," Robinson said. "You pick each other up and laugh. I think we were frustrating them a bit. Maybe he (fell) over a bit too easy. It happens."

When Schelotto got a yellow card for exaggerating a dive in extra time, he motioned to coach Sigi Schmid to pull him up. It was all too much for Carver.

"I'm sure he (Schmid) doesn't encourage it," Carver said. "But players are individuals. If that is the way he wants to play the game, get me back to England."

While Carver now has the Reds on a five-game unbeaten string, this past week -- during which he was reprimanded for behaviour towards officials -- has him wondering if he and his demonstrative nature on the sideline is, in fact, suited to Major League Soccer.

"They want me to sit down in the chair in the dugout with my arms folded and my legs crossed. Be a nice little boy and get a suntan. Well, no. If that is what they want, I'll get on a plane and just fly home again," Carver said, revealing that the league distributed a DVD to officials of him on the sideline last week. "I'm a passionate guy. When we miss a shot I put my arms up on my head. When we don't get a free kick, I put my hands on my head. They don't want that. The guys (league officials) in the stands ... they don't want passionate people. Well, I'm like that. Every day I'm like that on the training grounds. If that is taken away from me, then it's not worth my while being here and being part of this.

"I'm a very passionate guy and and apparently they don't want people who love the game and wear their heart on their sleeve."

Carver was just getting warmed up. That yellow card, he said, should have come earlier -- especially in light of his own reprimand.

"If that (dive) was back in England, everybody would be up in arms, shouting how that is bad for the image of the game. I agree," he said. "The thing is I got lambasted for my behaviour by the referees association for my aggressive behaviour. But today we see a fellow professional diving all over the park. Is anything going to be done about that? I don't know ... I want people to be honest and professional. To me, that (Schelotto's antics) is not."

Carver also got into a running verbal confrontation with fourth official Mauricio Navarro, and blamed the DVD.

"Because of the DVD, the fourth official was quite aggressive towards me and I did nothing today to merit that," he said. "He disrespected me. He pointed his finger in my face. If I did that to him, I'm in trouble, and rightly so.

"We're walking down the tunnel at halftime, having a sensible conversation. Then, all of a sudden, the referee appeared and (Navarro) started becoming aggressive and pointing at my face like: 'Yeah, I'll show him who is boss.'. "

Columbus came close to scoring only once, in the 24th minute, but defender Tyrone Marshall cleared Robbie Rogers' shot from the goal line. Toronto had 14 shots, dominated and had six corners.


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