LA Galaxy midfielder Nigel de Jong will serve at least a one-game suspension for his tackle on Darlington Nagbe, though coach Bruce Arena is less than impressed with the “hysteria” surrounding the incident.
De Jong was heavily criticised for his late studs-up challenge on Nagbe’s ankle in last week’s 1-1 draw against Portland Timbers, with the Netherlands international fortunate to escape with a yellow card.
The MLS Disciplinary Committee has yet to decide on the length of De Jong’s ban but Arena confirmed the 31-year-old will miss Friday’s clash at Houston Dynamo, not that the former United States boss is happy about what has transpired since.
“I think it’s hysteria. I think obviously Nigel has to understand this; he has a reputation that precedes him. If that was any other player in that tackle, it would not have received the hysteria that it has. I think the press and others have failed miserably in reporting the incident and what actually happened,” Arena said.
“The player probably wasn’t hurt on the tackle, which no one has reported. Darlington Nagbe is a great kid and a great player, and we certainly don’t want him to be injured on a bad tackle. I think it was a mistimed tackle by Nigel. A bad tackle on that play is going to the ground and going over the ball with excessive force. That was not the case on that play.
“From my understanding of our doctor was that he received a bruise. The ankle injury was there before the game. He had an injured ankle coming into the game. He went down 10 minutes before that. Then obviously all the hysteria was there. If it’s another player, it’s not as publicised. We don’t condone the tackle, it was a mistimed tackle, it was not a vicious tackle. A bad tackle certainly. Whoever reads intent … what I know of Nigel in our short time together is he’s a great player and person, and he wasn’t trying to hurt the player, believe me. It was mistimed.
“As a tackle it’s clearly a yellow card and arguably a red card, there’s no excuse for it. Fortunately, it wasn’t a tackle that injured the player.”
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