PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins has taken his share of knocks in his seven-year MLS career. But when Sanna Nyassi’s cleats met with Perkins nose as he tried to collect a loose ball in Montreal this past weekend, he immediately thought the worst.
“Initially, I thought he got my eye,” Perkins said of the second-half collision during the Timbers 2-0 loss to the Impact. “I thought my eye was gone.”
Perkins, of course, didn’t lose an eye, but he did sustain what he called the worst, or at least most gruesome and painful, injury of his career. The laceration to his nose was glued after the game and, at training Tuesday at JELD-WEN Field, the veteran netminder was sporting a sheet of bandages over the nasty gash.
WATCH: Perkins takes Nyassi boot to face
Timbers head coach John Spencer, of course, was not impressed with Nyassi’s form.
“Obviously we as coaches get the benefit of replay, but that’s a stone cold red card for me,” Spencer said. “I’ve played the game myself, and there’s only one reason you get in a tangle on a goalkeeper like that, and I’ve done it myself, and that’s to do the goalkeeper.”
Perkins said he would meet with a plastic surgeon on Tuesday. He was fitted with a protective mask and said the good news is that there was no concussion associated with the injury that would keep him out of this Saturday’s game against Columbus.
Spencer said if Perkins is unable to play, MLS rookie Joe Bendik, who came on after the injury against Montreal, would replace him.
Perkins said Nyassi apologized for the incident through Timbers defender Mamadou “Futty” Danso, a friend of Nyassi’s.
“I think it’s just a stupid tackle and really not well thought out,” Perkins said.
Both Perkins and Spencer agreed that it was a turning point of the game. With one substitution already used early in the game when defender Steve Purdy was knocked out with a concussion, it handcuffed Spencer’s ability to make tactical moves. Spencer said he expects the league’s disciplinary committee to review the collision.
“That’s another game-changing decision,” Spencer said. “If you did that in the street, and a police officer saw, you’d probably get done for assault and spend a number of months in prison.”
More missing players
Purdy, who was knocked out of the Montreal game in the 20th minute after a collision with Justin Mapp, didn’t train Tuesday and will miss Saturday’s game due to the league’s concussion evaluation policy.
Midfielder Kalif Alhassan, who has missed Portland’s last two games with a knee injury, was also not at training and will not be available for the Columbus game.
And outside defender Steven Smith, who signed with the club last week and started against Montreal is in the UK to obtain his visa. The team is hopeful he’ll be back in time for Saturday’s game.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsosccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.