Williams was ejected for a bad tackle on Portland Timbers midfielder Andy Polo, who needed to be helped off the field just before halftime of their 3-0 win at Providence Park. A few days later, the Timbers announced Polo suffered a ruptured quadriceps muscle and a torn meniscus in his left leg as a result of the play and would miss the rest of the 2021 season.
Vanney was quick to point out that his thoughts are with Polo, but he's also quick to squash any abuse Williams has been subjected to on social media.
"(Williams) feels bad for the player on the other side as we all do, no question," Vanney said during a virtual press conference. "It’s an awful scenario. The victim in this is Andy Polo and we wish him the best. I’ve talked to (Timbers head coach) Gio (Savarese) and sent my best.
"Now on our side, it’s about supporting Derrick with the stuff that’s going on and being there for him," Vanney continued. "The nonsense that goes on social media — the people, the disrespect. The lack of, I don’t know what the word is and the word I want to say I can’t. People who are talking like that, I hope we can find out who they are and we can deal with them. It’s nonsense and much worse than that.”
Williams may miss additional time via the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
“Obviously he’s incredibly remorseful, he reached out to (Polo) in the moment and he’s reached out after," Vanney said. "The loser right now is the player who is out for the rest of the year. Derrick is now suffering from other things that should not be happening on social media, which are complete nonsense as well."
The 28-year-old defender signed with LA this past offseason from English club Blackburn Rovers, where he made 152 appearances across all competitions. He's also an Ireland international, earning three caps with the senior team. Williams had started the Galaxy's last four games.
“Derrick is wearing the emotion a little bit, I can see it in his face every day," Vanney said. "He’s a good guy who got a tackle very wrong, he knows that and he owns that.”