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Arena unhappy with ‘hysteria’ surrounding De Jong tackle

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports

LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is not happy with the way in which the media has covered Nigel de Jong’s tackle on Darlington Nagbe at the StubHub Center.

On Sunday, the Portland Timbers midfielder was forced off the field in a wheelchair after receiving a studs-up challenge from De Jong in the 73rd minute. Arena expects De Jong to receive at least a one-game ban for the tackle, even though he only received a yellow card during the game. The coach blames the media for making the tackle out to be more than what it actually was.

“I think it’s hysteria,” Arena told reporters on Wednesday. “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.

“Hysteria is the fault of social media. It’s the fault of people in MLS and in the offices that do that and feed the whole thing. And the journalism,” Arena added. “No one’s actually interviewed the player, anything like that. 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.”

The MLS Disciplinary Committee has not officially sanctioned the midfielder, but a one-game ban would see De Jong miss Friday’s match against the Houston Dynamo.

What do you think of Arena’s comments? Think De Jong’s tackle deserves a suspension?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. While I agree Nigel DeJong should be banned for 3 games, Nate Grabvoy’s tackle a few days ago was MUCH worse. He should be banned for at least 3 – 5 games. Don’t believe, look it up.

  2. As long as there are hacks like NDJ playing the game, you pretty much have to support diving. Since referees won’t or can’t protect skilled players from guys like NDJ who have made a career out of busting up creative midfielders players need some way to protect themselves. The alternative is hockey where teams start throwing goons onto the pitch to punish each other.

  3. In every other sport in this country it has been well established that if the player’s teammates and coaches don’t deal with clearly dirty players like this guy or if the league itself fails to act, that players opponents will settle the issue. De Jong needs needs to get a solid “Roy Keane: treatment. This is the single quickest way to end this type of behavior. De Jong has no respect for the game or his fellow players. Hence, he has no place on the field.

  4. I gave Arena very high respect until he hired De Jong; Arena’s most stupid decision. DeJong: no word to describe your animal actions; you have been played those dirty tackles for years and damaged many players; however I knew you do not care or bother as if someone lost their careers or injured because of your actions. I cannot believe that someone defensed or accepted his dirty played|||

  5. Bruce would be the biggest crybaby is someone did that to Keane. Yes it’s MLS and a hack a man league and usually par for the course for the league, but still a bad challenge from a global standpoint

  6. Every time I read anything that comes out of this guys mouth my first reaction is “this guy is suck a dick.”

  7. agree with older and wiser, joe, troy, and brain guy. ndj didn’t get the bame ‘lawnmower’ for picking daisies and such behavior is bad for tge game–like diving only worse. refs should make an example of ndg and please don’t talk to me about where his studs were or how many reds he has. it was a nasty foul from a player with a nasty reputation. throw the book at him and screw arena (who i respect) and his self-serving whining. man up bruce, straighten up nigel!

    • Of course he would. Arena, even being the greatest coach to walk the sidelines in MLS, is a huge hypocrite about a lot of topics and I find him absolutely annoying.

      His club benefits from “hysteria” as the unofficial face of MLS. Positive and negative attention comes with the territory.

    • Brain Guy, you are 100% correct, but its not saying much because it is also true of almost every other manager out there. Almost every manager screams about how bad a call is when it goes against them, while the manager on the other side says how it was a good call. Almost every manager has his players’ backs. If the foul had been Nagbe fouling De Jong the same way, you’d have Porter saying similar things as Arena.

  8. It was an aggressive tackle for any player and looked nasty. Not nasty on the level of past De Jong tackles but still nasty. The player has a reputation for a reason and we saw a 6 on a 10 scale in this situation.

    Bruce knew the history here and now he’s pissed he’ll miss his player for 3 games. Cry us a river. I think it sends De Jong an important message: don’t do it again.

    • of course everyone, myself included, got a little over-excited, and not completely fair/just in our assessment of this tackle – but for the record I would like to see every player that conducts a dangerous/injury causing tackle to be given a suspension that “sends a message” — not going to be a better opportunity than this one to send a message/make the change in how the game is played here.

  9. Classic case of coach protecting player, nothing more, nothing less and it’s what he’s supposed to do! Bruce mentioned briefly the checkered history of De Jong, so yeah is trying to get ahead of whatever discipline is given by the committee but he is being naive if he thinks a players history doesn’t play apart in these decisions, and they should!!

  10. More hot air from Bruce. Sorry buddy, when you sign a player, you sign his baggage as well. His baggage will create a firestorm every time he makes one of these bad tackles.

    Get used to it Arena, the lawnmower still has a lot of grass to cut.

  11. I agree with BA. The foul was minor in the overall scheme of things. The whole “studs up” aspect shows it’s BS. Nagbe was stepped on studs down. Yellow at worst, IMHO.

    • He went over the ball and his foot and therefore studs are parallel to the ground when he makes contact with Nagbe’s leg. That’s not “studs down” that’s “studs up” any way you look at it. No, it’s not on par with his flying karate kick to Xabi Alonso’s chest, but it was a nasty tackle that deserved a straight red. Nagbe is lucky to only have a sprained ankle. That kind of tackle breaks legs (first-hand experience). It’s exactly what everyone with half a brain knew was coming as soon as LA announced the signing.

      • I think you’re confusing parallel with perpendicular. If the studs are parallel to the ground, they are, by definition, studs down.

      • @wham: Was playing in the state tournament several years back, guy on the other team came at me to try to tackle the ball, I poked it past him, he missed his tackle and came in exactly like what de Jong did and broke my tibia, it was rather unpleasant. He didn’t do it on purpose, it was just a badly timed tackle, but he went over the ball studs up and rightly received a red. He was reckless and

        @Panda: No, I’m sorry, but you’re incorrect. My 8 year old has learned this concept in math already, but whatever. Let’s learn some basic geometry.
        These are parallel lines =====. When you’re coming in sideways the bottom of your foot is parallel with the ground.
        These are perpendicular lines _|_. When you’re standing up straight the bottom of your foot is perpendicular to the ground.

        Here’s an image of the incident:

        His foot (and therefore studs) are pointing mostly sideways (parallel) not directly down at the ground (perpendicular).

        I’m not saying he was trying to hurt Nagbe, I don’t know what’s going on in his head. I do know you don’t do that if you’re considering the safety of your opponent, because if you mistime that type of tackle you’re doing damage every time.

  12. That’s Bruce trying to get out in front of the MLS Disciplinary Committee and potentially cut down any justifiably lengthy suspension to “the lawnmower.” What did BA expect when he brought De Jong to LA, that he would completely reform? Not on a bet. He wanted an enforcer and he’s got one. Now live with the consequences.

    • Exactly. Bruce knows what he’s doing. He hired the lawnmower for just this reason.

      If I were a skilled player, it would be hard not to second guess playing freely near the lawnmower. It’s like having an extra defender. Bruce’s weapon has sent his message to skilled players in the league. Will the discipline committee send a message back?

    • Bruce is right. Anything more than a 1 game suspension would be punishing someone based on reputation, not the actual incident. For all those hating on De Jong, how many of you wouldn’t mind him holding down the midfield on your favorite team? He’s a tough enforcer and smart and skilled. Despite his reputation, he has only ever received one red card in his career (a double yellow).

      • Maybe only gotten one red but he’s broken 2 guys legs and kicked a guy in the chest full force. Those are not typical fouls

      • Of course, no less a referee luminary than Howard Webb openly admitted after the World Cup final in 2010 that he blew the call on De Jong’s attempt to impale Xabi, and that it should have been straight red. Said he threw up in the refs locker room at halftime after watching the video.

        And you know, Lance Armstrong never tested positive. And Hitler never faced trial. Point being, your punishment doesn’t always fit the crime.

        That said – Arena is right. Even the reporters at the game were surprised at the social media response. Porter was only asked one question about the incident, Arena none. It was everyone not at the game who turned the entire thing into a referendum on De Jong after the fact. Including SBI, quite frankly.

        Is De Jong irresponsible? Sure. Does he deserve a sanction? Sure. But the fact is that this story was shaped by the media, many of whom, including, it seems, SBI, have an ax to grind. Such is the world in which we live.

      • In answer to your question, I’d rather get a paper cut on my eyeball than have him on my team. I still have some self-respect, and I still think some things are more important than soccer.

      • Man I swear sometimes fans are over the top with their comments..

        Curmudgeon: “I still have some self-respect, and I still think some things are more important than soccer.”

        So having De Jong on a team, someone who’s big fault/sin is being overly rough on the soccer pitch, somehow makes the fans of said team have less respect for themselves?? Explain that one to me. Dramatic much?

        “I still think some things are more important than soccer”- Well duh, of course many things are more important than soccer, but we are talking about a soccer topic here. How is your comment relevant? The comment you are replying to is, “how many of you wouldn’t mind him holding down the midfield on your favorite team?” which is soccer specific. He wasn’t asking if you’d want De Jong to babysit your children.

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