L.A. Galaxy manager Bruce Arena is cranky.
That, perhaps, is not a surprise given he’s lost dynamic hard-nosed midfielder Nigel De Jong for at least one game after the Dutchman injured Darlington Nagbe in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Portland.
And, wait for it, maybe he has a point? Arena claims that Nagbe was already favoring his ankle, so the resulting sprain is not a big deal. The Galaxy manager knows it was a bad tackle, but thinks people wouldn’t be freaking out if the tackler was someone else.
“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.”
Arena laid blame for the “hysteria” with social media and “people in MLS and in the offices that do that and feeds the whole thing. And the journalism.”
“No one’s actually interviewed the player, anything like that,” he said. “It’s been blown out of proportion, but rightfully so, because of how everyone wanted to make this player into a villain. And, obviously, with the incidents he’s had previously, it invites that. We understand that.”
De Jong hasn’t commented on the incident since his post-game comments, where he described it as a “50/50 challenge” and described Nagbe’s injury as “a pity”.