Kansas City, KS – In the dying moments of Sunday night’s game versus Sporting KC, Red Bulls midfielder Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra was sent off with a straight red card after kicking a ball into the stands, hitting a Sporting KC fan directly in the face. The fan was visibly shaken up, with blood trickling down his face, requiring medical attention. The incident also incited a sideline scuffle between SKC and RBNY players, and is likely to cost Kaku a multiple game suspension.
Wild sequence as Kaku from New York Red Bulls smashes a ball into the front row of fans in frustration 😳
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) April 15, 2019
Moments before the incident, 16-year old wonderkid Gianluca Busio scored an 88th minute equalizer for Sporting KC which cost New York a much-needed two points. Red Bulls are winless in their last four games and that frustration came to a boiling point, leading to the unfortunate incident.
In the 92nd minute of the match with Red Bulls on a counter-attack, Vincent Bezecourt misplayed a pass intended for Kaku who was open in space down the left wing. The ball was deflected by a Sporting KC defender and rolled out of bounds. Kaku immediately threw his hands up in disgust and was visibly angered that the pass did not reach him. The ball then careened off the advertising boards and back into the field of play. Kaku turns around, gets a running start and fires the ball into the stands, striking the fan, point blank in the face.
After the match, Kaku took to Twitter and apologized for his actions:
I want to take the time and apologize for my actions during tonight’s match. As a competitor, I was frustrated with myself and took out my frustrations in a way that is not acceptable. I love this game and would never want to disrespect it. pic.twitter.com/0f1ufcXyJ4
— kaku (@kakuromero17) April 15, 2019
— kaku (@kakuromero17) April 15, 2019
While speaking with media, many of his teammates, including Daniel Royer and Luis Robles came to Kaku’s defense. They believe his intentions were to hit the boards and not the fan sitting in the front row. Regardless of his intentions, Kaku was 100% in the wrong for doing what he did and deserves to be suspended.
Kaku’s short time in New York has been filled with controversy. Before the season, Kaku’s agent publicly made his displeasure with the club known after Red Bulls slapped a $12-million price tag on the 24-year-old Paraguay international. Kaku’s agent told media that the valuation was “unreasonable”, ultimately ending Liga MX side Club America’s pursuit of the player. After it was clear he’d be staying in MLS, Kaku posted several cryptic tweets, leading people to believe he was on his way out the door in the next transfer window. All of that came to a head when Kaku was suspended by the Red Bulls organization in March before a match versus San Jose for a “minor internal incident”. Manager Chris Armas refused to go into details on the reason for his suspension, but made it clear that the team would be moving forward and the talented midfielder was a big part of their future.
The RBNY communications team released a statement after midnight, saying “the New York Red Bulls organization does not condone the type of behavior displayed near the end of Sunday night’s match in Kansas City. We hold everyone in our organization to a high standard of conduct. The matter will continue to be discussed internally and we will have no further comment at this time”.
Checking in with the fan in the stands. 🙏
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) April 15, 2019
Red Bulls (1-3-2) will travel to Gillette Stadium on Saturday night to take on the struggling New England Revolution. The Revs (1-5-1) are in last place in the Eastern Conference with just four points from 7 matches.