It’ll be hard to defend Claudio Bieler after Week 14, even if you’re a Sporting Kansas City fan.
True, the Argentine scored his seventh goal of the season Saturday night. But Bieler’s performance in Kansas City’s 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact was far from acceptable.
You’ll have to look beyond the stat sheet to come to that conclusion.
Some masterful diving allowed the Bieler to draw a penalty in Saturday’s loss. There was some contact made by defender Alessandro Nesta, but not enough to warrant a foul.
Clearly, Bieler’s been enjoying LeBron James’ performance in the Eastern Conference finals a bit too much.
The flop was bad. The decision to point to the spot by referee Armando Villarreal was worse.
Even if there was a foul, it was apparent that it took place outside of the area. A free-kick should’ve been awarded, not a penalty.
But the Bieler-Nesta battle didn't end there.
Nesta delivered an outrageous headbutt to Bieler in the 74th minute and was immediately shown a red card from the referee. But there’s a reason the 37-year-old defender reacted in such a petulant manner.
While Nesta was on the ground—finishing a well-executed challenge on Benny Feilhaber—Bieler decided to spice up an already tense situation. A subtle toe poke in Nesta’s direction ignited the Italian’s fiery response.
Nesta’s reaction is indefensible. But that does not absolve Bieler of any wrongdoing, either. The entire situation was instigated by the Argentine footballer.
But in the end, it was Nesta and the Impact who had the last laugh.
The 2-1 victory at Sporting Park propelled Montreal to first in the Eastern Conference.