At least the police officer didn’t dump his beer on Jimmy Nielsen. We’re an hour or so into Nielsen’s life as an MLS champion and so far the one constant is that everyone seems to be emptying their beers on his head.
Well, that’s not completely accurate. Some people are emptying their champagne bottles onto Nielsen’s blonde hair. Teammates, coaches, executives. They’re all dumping their drinks on him.
The cop, though, he was different. He smiled at Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City’s star goalkeeper smiled back, and they clinked their beer bottles together and drank. Everybody else is treating Nielsen’s head like a sink and, well, here comes another one. Looks like a rose.
Judging from Nielsen’s reaction, it must feel like an ice bath.
“You know what?” Nielsen says. “The first champagne I had was warm. This here was ice cold. How the hell did they do that? Where did they keep that one?”
Nielsen is smiling as he says this, of course. Heck, at this point, you could club him in the shins and he’d probably laugh. He is the 36-year-old anchor for Sporting, which somehow —some freaking how
— has survived 120 minutes of soccer in temperatures in the teens and won the MLS Cup against Real Salt Lake on the 20th penalty kick.
The heating system under the field apparently has the power of a BIC lighter, because Nielsen compared playing goalkeeper on one end to ice skating. Both teams had chances to win. Salt Lake hit the post three times.
No MLS playoff game had ever needed this many penalty kicks, and if Sporting had lost, history would’ve remembered Graham Zusi — one of the best two or three midfielders in the entire league — having a chance to end it but not even putting his kick on goal.
It had to go down like this, didn’t it? Nothing has ever been easy for any sports team in Kansas City, which makes Nielsen a perfect fit.src="http://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js" charset="utf-8">