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Video: Juninho kicks dead ball into Jimmy Nielsen’s chest; Nielsen sells it

Apr 18, 2013, 12:49 AM EDT

Screen shot 2013-04-17 at 9.46.19 PM

The uneven start to Juninho Pernambucano’s Major League Soccer career took an unexpected twist on Wednesday, though you’re going to read two distinct interpretations of this incident as it’s discussed in the coming days. Some people are going to focus on Juninho’s transgression. Others will dwell on the piece of impromptu theater Jimmy Nielsen performed at Red Bull Arena.

Let’s set the scene. It’s late in Harrison, and for almost 80 minutes, the Red Bulls have been trying to equalize Sporting’s 13th minute opener. Ahead of a late goal kick, Juninho goes to flip the ball back to Nielsen and decides to put a little extra on it. The ball ends up nailing Nielsen right below the collarbone, earning the Red Bull midfielder a straight red card.

As a television lawyer might say, those facts are undisputed. The different interpretations start with Juninho’s intentions. A sympathetic sort might think Juninho just tried pop the ball up by coming down underneath it. When he got too much of the ball, he inadvertently fires his “chip” into Nielsen’s chest.

That’s a reach given Juninho’s skill level. What’s more likely: That he hit the ball at Nielsen out of frustration with the keeper’s time-wasting? Or he mishit the ball and it happened to end up in the guy’s chest?

Given Nielsen’s response, you can see some people wishing the latter were true. The guy collapses, rolls around as if the ball nailed him in the face. It sure doesn’t look that way in the replay, though Nielsen does take Juninho’s attempt to avoid time-wasting and turns it against him. His act gets Juninho tossed and leaves the clock running for nearly two minutes, time Allen Chapman thankfully added at the end.

No doubt, whether he intended it or not, that’s a red card for Juninho. But seeing those shots of Nielsen lying on his side, eyes closed as if he just got George John’d, you can’t help but feel a little frustrated by the farce.

Juninho was going to get red carded, and any time you spend on the ground is just going to get tacked on at the end. Just get up already.

Here’s the footage:

  1. tackledummy1505 - Apr 18, 2013 at 5:33 AM

    The only reason I can see American soccer not becoming one of the top 3 or 4 sports in America is this problem right here. Americans don’t want to see sport athletes act. That’ll be like asking Arnold Schwenagger to take the helm of the New England Patriots or Stallone playing Shortstop for the Phillies. Give me a break with all this drama and fake crap. The league should implement a rule at the end of the game if you get hurt and you’re down for more than 45 seconds you must leave the playing field for at least 1 minute. If it’s above a minute, then you’re gone for 2 minutes. Each minute you add a minute on top of that. Look I understand some of the plays might be real, but in all actuality there’s like a 12% chance that it’s real in the first place. That means most of the time players are just faking to waste time and it’s ruining the excitement of the game and its dragging it’s integrity down as well

    • jpan007 - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      this also happen with English soccer, Mexican soccer, and they are already popular

    • danielk1 - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      It happens all the time in basketball too.

    • khard1250 - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      “The only reason I can see American soccer not becoming one of the top 3 or 4 sports in America is this problem right here. Americans don’t want to see sport athletes act”

      Yet, WWE made over $115 million last year.

    • ezzz2the - Apr 18, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      Its a soccer thing and they do nothing to try to stop it, its a shame soccer is a fun sport to watch but I agree with you that this is very unappealing to the US

  2. dfstell - Apr 18, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    I hate this stupid rolling around on the ground crap. While I blame the referees for perpetuating this behavior, I also don’t understand these players. I mean…..this is just unmanly behavior. Grown men don’t act like this. Maybe that’s old fashioned, but I that’s what I think.

  3. geojock - Apr 18, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Have you guys not watched SKC the last few years? Totally expected behavior.

    • east96st - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Agreed. In fact, it’s been going on so long and is so frequent, you have to believe it’s coached and encouraged. It’s a shame because they are a talented team and do not need to behave like that. But, as long as MLS rewards it, it’s hard to fault the coach for taking a competitive advantage whenever he can. It’s long overdue for MLS to crack down on this. Nielsen should have to miss a game, as well. Suspensions are the only way it’s going to stop. Childish behavior that denigrates the sport.

      • dreadpirate82 - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        It’s not just SKC, and it’s certainly not just MLS. This stuff happens everywhere. I’m not saying I like it, but it happens in pretty much every professional match in every league around the world. Good luck stopping it.

  4. charliej11 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    I don’t like the acting. There is no need, he gets a yellow/red card for it no matter what.

    Watching golf, which I rarely do, but did this weekend, you realize how sports should be played. Police yourself, don’t rely on a ref to make a call and then try to fool them. Just morally wrong. Wrong in every sense of the word.

  5. bobinkc - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Apparently a lot of you guys don’t watch much soccer, American or international. My son and I did a minute-to-minute comparison of rolling around on the field last year and SKC comes in a lot lower than a number of other MLS teams. Some of the best actors are among the most talented players in the sport. Watch EPL and other European league games sometime and see how much stoppage time goes on there.

    In terms of the penalty, Juninho got exactly the punishment that his swift little move deserved. Hopefully he demonstrated for others and learned himself that you just don’t mess with the goalie unless it is during regular play and even then you can only attack the ball, not the goalie himself.

    • east96st - Apr 18, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      Let’s just look at JUST the MLS. 19 teams, 34 games apiece. That’s 646 games last year. At a rough average of 2 hours for each game, that means you & your son watched 1,292 hours of MLS soccer. Divide that by 12 hours each day and you & your boy watched over 107 days worth of MLS soccer last year to draw the conclusion that SKC “comes in a lot lower than a number of MLS teams”. Of course, you claim to have watched many International games, as well, so 107 days is just scratching the surface of your “research”. You really want to stick to that story?

      • dreadpirate82 - Apr 18, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        There are two teams in each game, so it would be 323 games in a season.

        Amazing that this conversation has barely mentioned the guy who kicked the ball at a guy from 8 yards away. I have a feeling that MLS isn’t going to take kindly to the tiny shove he gives the ref at the 9 second mark either. No matter how minor, any contact with an official is usually dealt with harshly.

        I like Besler’s reaction, sprinting in with his hands behind his back, so it doesn’t look threatening.

        The embellishment is ridiculous and stupid, but Nielsen did get a yellow card for time wasting a few minutes later.

      • east96st - Apr 18, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        dread -You’re right. I was sloppy. But that’s still 57 days of watching MLS. Call me crazy, but I’m not believing bobinkc put in that kind of viewing time just to determine that his home team isn’t a major violator when it comes to “rolling around on the field”.

  6. perrinbar - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Can we all just agree that soccer needs to stop the clock for stuff like this. Get rid of the incentive, get rid of the behavior.

  7. khard1250 - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    IMHO, what Nielsen did is no different than a flop. I hope this gets reviewed by officials and some sort of disciplinary action is taken.

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