TORONTO – While there was no card handed out following the play in which Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio appeared to drill clearance attempt into the head of fallen New York Red Bulls defender Kosuke Kimura on Saturday evening, TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen still fears that his prodigious young midfielder could receive some unwarranted disciplinary action handed down from the league.
“I thought the referees handled it very well and I think common sense prevailed,” Nelsen said following TFC's training on Tuesday. “All the reactionary guys react because they want to make headlines and so they can look like they are experts. But I think common sense prevailed.
“Unfortunately, with regard to the people in charge, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jonathan gets something [in the way of a suspension] because it was one of those ones where if you slow it down, it doesn’t look great,” Nelsen explained. “But when you do it look at it in a normal motion, it just looks like a part of the game. I could just see the experts slowing it down and they’ll pinpoint it and they’ll find something wrong from it. So I won’t be surprised if something happens.”
Even though a scuffle between the two teams broke out following the 77th-minute occurrence during New York’s 2-0 victory over Toronto, both sides quickly settled down after the play and Osorio indicated via Twitter that Kimura had accepted his apology for a play that was clumsy but in no way intentional.
“I thank Kimura for understanding that I had no intention and for forgiving my apology,” Osorio said on his Twitter account. “Truly a class act that I can learn from. For those who think otherwise, on the play I had NO intention whatsoever in hurting Kimura and I was very apologetic after the play.”
While not downplaying the fact that Kimura could have been injured on the play, Nelsen stood by his player and characterized the play as the type of unfortunate accident that often occurs while competing in a lightning-quick and ultra-competitive sport.
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“It was right in front of [Petke] and he saw that it was just an accident,” Nelsen said. “I think [Osorio] kicked it and Kimura’s momentum caused him to fall into where the ball was going. Jon’s not like that at all.”
In Nelsen’s estimation, any number of plays in any game can look worse than they really were if you use slow motion to analyze them closely. Even with that reality, the TFC gaffer now finds himself less than hopeful that the league will be as pragmatic as the player who was fouled, the opposition coach and the officials who oversaw the match.
“If you slow down every header into the box or every 50-50 [ball] in the box where there are elbows going into guys heads, it looks awful,” Nelsen explained. “But they won’t, they’ll just pick this one out. I’m not that optimistic, to tell you the truth.”