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:
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:
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:
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.