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Nigel De Jong Makes X-Rated Tackle on Darlington Nagbe During Galaxy vs. Timbers

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured Columnist

CARSON, CA - APRIL 10: Nigel de Jong #34 of Los Angeles Galaxy battles Darlington Nagbe #6 of Portland Timbers during Los Angeles Galaxy's MLS match against Portland Timbers at the StubHub Center on April 10, 2016 in Carson, California. The match ended in a 1-1 tie (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)
Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Nigel de Jong's horror tackle on Darlington Nagbe forced the American midfielder to be stretchered off in the 72nd minute as Los Angeles Galaxy and Portland Timbers drew 1-1 at the StubHub Center on April 10. 

The pair both went in for a 50-50 ball, but Dutchman De Jong's lunge was wildly mistimed, and he ended up stamping on Nagbe's ankle—see below video, via sportswriter Eduard Cauich:

Eduard Cauich @ecauich

How many games do you guys think @mls is going to suspend #DeJong for this? #lagalaxy #mls #badrefs #yellowcard? https://t.co/0kZ6drUWGs

As shared by Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated, Nagbe suffered a sprain and contusion to his ankle during the clash, and it's unclear when he'll be ready to return to the pitch:

Grant Wahl @GrantWahl

Darlington Nagbe MRI results: Medial ankle sprain and contusion. No timeline yet on his return to play.

On Friday, the club announced De Jong has been suspended three matches and fined an undisclosed amount.

De Jong said after the match that it was never his intention to hurt Nagbe, per the club's website:

It was a ball that came my way. It was 50-50 and normally I always have those balls. But I went over the ball and caught the ball a little bit and caught most of his ankle.

It was a pity; it was never my intention to hurt him. He’s a good kid, as well, and I said that after the game, as well, to him. It’s a pity, but that’s football, as well. It was never my intention, and when a ball comes in that situation, you always go for it 100 per cent. Unfortunately, I caught him.

The incident prompted a Twitter spat between the two clubs:

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LA Galaxy @LAGalaxy

@TimbersFC Merritt? Is this you?

Portland Timbers @TimbersFC

@LAGalaxy Sorry we don't find signing dirty players funny. But have at it.

Meanwhile, FS1 analyst Stuart Holden—who was the victim of another dangerous De Jong tackle in March 2010—made a damning assessment of the Dutchman's tackle and predicted further punishment for the former AC Milan player, per Simon Borg of the official MLS website:

I’m sitting here and now I’m seeing this challenge firs hand on Darlington Nagbe, and it makes me feel sick. Because I know what Darlington Nagbe is going through. We saw him sitting there. He had the towel over his head. We saw his body mannerism and that’s a man that knows he’s done something serious. I don’t want to speculate what it is, but I know it’s not good. And De Jong did go over and apologize, but there is absolutely no excuse for that type of challenge. We don’t need it in the game. It’s horrific. It’s horrible. And he’s going to get retroactive punishment.

It is far from the first time that De Jong, 31, has been involved in on-field aggression. He infamously planted his foot into Xabi Alonso's chest in the 2010 World Cup final between Netherlands and Spain:

On that occasion, he surprisingly escaped with only a yellow card, as he also did after Sunday's tackle on Nagbe.

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