Nigel De Jong's reputation precedes him, and it was strengthened even more Sunday night.
De Jong, the bruising, veteran Dutch international central midfielder, stomped Darlington Nagbe's left ankle in Sunday night's 1-1 draw between the LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers, sending the U.S. men's national team midfielder off the field in a stretcher (and eventually a wheelchair). The tackle, which merited just a yellow card, is the latest in a line of vicious challenges in De Jong's career. He's notorious in U.S. circles for his challenge that broke Stuart Holden's leg in the March leading up to the 2010 World Cup.
He also delivered the karate kick to the sternum of Spain's Xabi Alonso in the final of that World Cup.
The latest incident took place in the 73rd minute of the match, with the Timbers leading 1-0:
The ugly situation spilled over into social media, with the two clubs exchanging rather pointed barbs:
Holden, now a commentator for Fox Sports, which aired the game, said the following: "And I’m sitting here and now I’m seeing this challenge first-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."
There has been no detail from the Timbers on the severity of Nagbe's injury, nor has there been a timetable set on his recovery.