No one knows what it feels like to be in Darlington Nagbe's place right now better than Stuart Holden. After Nagbe was carried off the field after sustaining a leg injury from a reckless Nigel de Jong tackle, FOX Sports cameras turned to Stuart Holden.
Holden, 30, is a former United States international who was forced to retire prematurely due to a series of unfortunate injuries. One of the most severe injuries Holden picked up was the result of a very similar tackle by none other than Nigel de Jong in a friendly between the USA and the Netherlands in 2010.
When the cameras panned to Holden to get his reaction of the incident you could see the pain in his eyes as it all seemed eerily similar. Speaking on TV minutes after the incident occurred he didn't mince words with how he was feeling.
"It's almost fate, wasn't it, that this was going to happen. Nigel and I actually had an opportunity [to talk] before the game, and full disclosure, he sought me out and made an apology for this challenge [from March 2010]. As you can see there, I had a grade-2 MCL sprain and a broken right fibula which almost put me out of the World Cup in 2010. Now I did rehab and get back, and I felt that that was a nasty challenge.
"And I also felt that the one today, on Darlington Nagbe, he comes over the ball. I came away from it feeling ... He talked about being in a dark period in that part of his career. About the media was on his back. He was under a lot of pressure on the field and was making challenges. In my book, it's no excuse for breaking legs. It's no excuse for bad challenges. But I walked away from that feeling good.
"And I'm sitting here and now I'm seeing this challenge first hand on Darlington Nagbe, and it makes me feel sick. Because I know what Darlington Nagbe is going through. We saw him sitting there. He had the towel over his head. We saw his body mannerism and that's a man that knows he's done something serious. I don't want to speculate what it is, but I know it's not good. And De Jong did go over and apologize, but there is absolutely no excuse for that type of challenge. We don't need it in the game. It's horrific. It's horrible. And he's going to get retroactive punishment."
-Stuart Holden; Source: MLS
You have to feel for Holden who was put in an extremely difficult situation having to analyze something that hits way too close to home for him. However, no one understands the actions of De Jong more than Holden and the repercussions they have.
Hopefully Nagbe comes off better than Holden did in 2010 when he had his leg broken. Whatever the diagnosis, it shouldn't matter. Nigel de Jong is a dirty player. This isn't an internet hot take. This is a proven fact by now. MLS must make an example of him if they have any wishes of cleaning up their disciplinary actions on the field.