- Bravo, Kansas City. Bravo.
If I told you a game was halted because the goalie needed a few quick stitches, you'd probably assume I was talking about hockey.
Nope. (Maybe I should've mentioned the player was stitched up while lying seemingly helpless on the ground?)
Kansas City keeper Jimmy Nielsen was on the unfortunate end of a team promotion on Wednesday, when just after Sporting's first goal of 3-1 victory over the Timbers, Nielsen was struck in the face by an object thrown from the stands. His home stands.
That projectile in question? The plastic, previously bobbling head of an Omar Bravo doll given to the first 10,000 fans who showed up for Portland's match at sparkly Livestrong Park. Bravo missed the game after picking up a red card in Sporting's previous outing, but his presence was felt with the fan-heaved header that added stitches and a shiner to complement Nielsen's golden 'brows. Police have the unnamed alleged bobble-marksman—who faces potential aggravated battery charges—in custody and they've released another tosser, a 21-year-old former college football quarterback (he redshirted at Kansas State) charged with disorderly conduct.
"I did not see it coming," said Nielsen. “First I thought I walked into the post, then I realized I was a long way from the post."
He might have thought he was a long way from home. But no, the "fans" in question were wearing KC jerseys when they threw their complimentary collectible at their keeper's face to celebrate a lead. Not exactly a sporting move, but also not atypical fan behavior for rabid supporters the beautiful game.
Portland's so-called "European" atmosphere thankfully hasn't bred such offside behavior (the occasional on-field white streamer is a necessary evil) and Timbers Army has a steadfast rule against lobbing missiles at your (least) favorite player—"There is never a reason to throw things on the field," reads the entry for "Never Throw Anything on the Pitch" in the TA's official glossary.
Portland renews its rivalry with Cascadia Cup foe Vancouver at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Timbers' next promotional giveaway is Wednesday, when the first 5,000 fans at Jeld-Wen will receive a skateboard deck.