No one looks good in the Juninho-Jimmy Nielsen incident

USA TODAY Sports

Juninho is a complete idiot for kicking the ball at Nielsen, but the Sporting KC goalkeeper deserves some punishment for the level of embellishment as well.

Anyone who saw the rather ridiculous incident from Wednesday's New York Red Bulls-Sporting Kansas City game probably noticed two things: Juninho deserved the red card he received and probably an extra ban for kicking a dead ball at Jimmy Nielsen AND Nielsen embellished the incident to a rather ridiculous degree.

Let's go to the film, in case you missed it:


As you can clearly see, Juninho did something very dumb and probably deliberate. He actually takes the time to settle the ball and then blasts it right at the Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper. Considering his world-renowned ability to strike a free kick, it's impossible for me to believe that he wasn't trying to hit Nielsen.

At the same time, there needs to be some kind of punishment for Nielsen. Yes, he was hit. But the replays show the ball clearly hit him in his arm, not his face as he pretended it did. He writhed around on the ground for several minutes, too, something not only designed to make sure Juninho was red-carded, but also serving to waste a few precious minutes off the clock.

I'm not going to pretend that the two parts of this incident are equal. What Juninho did was definitely worse. But Nielsen was hardly innocent. A fine would at least send the message that embellishing is not something that should be rewarded.

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