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Fans were back in the stands for a historic CONCACAF Nations League final at Empower Field in Denver on Sunday, but it wasn’t a perfectly sound return to action as the United States defeated Mexico.
A statement from Empower Field management said five people were arrested by Denver Police—four for trespassing and one for throwing projectiles.
“Our fan code of conduct will continue to be strictly enforced to ensure a positive experience for everyone,” the statement read.
According to the statement, security footage captured the fifth person throwing a bottle that injured Borussia Dortmund star Gio Reyna amid the celebration of Christian Pulisic’s game-winning penalty kick.
That person will be banned from Empower Field as well as face criminal charges.
U.S. men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter spoke out against the behavior of fans after the 3-2 win.
“It has no place in the game, spectators throwing objects onto the field,” Berhalter told reporters. “A total lack of respect for what’s happening on the field and all the effort that both teams were putting into the game, so I was really disappointed to see that.”
The latest issue comes amid a rise in fan-involved incidents as stadiums across the United States welcome the return of fans after (in some cases) more than a year of empty stadiums amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the Brooklyn Nets headed to Boston to face the Celtics in the postseason, a 21-year-old fan threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving. According to TMZ Sports, he was ordered to stay away from TD Garden.
Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook had popcorn dumped on him when he left the court with an injury in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, and the New York Knicks banned a fan who spat on Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young.