As mentioned by Sounder at Heart in the previous post, Union coach Peter Nowak was unimpressed by the supposedly floppy nature of some of the Sounders top players.
After reading his quotes, though, I felt it was worth addressing the issue directly.
"From the other standpoint we got to see all this flopping and diving and when you see the stats we have eight fouls and six cards that is too much. There is guys rolling around on the pitch like they got shot. I think we need to recognize there are guys doing this stuff and trying to take advantage of the referee decisions. I expect someone like Freddie Ljungberg who has scored so many goals and played hundreds of games with the national team and won so many trophies would be more honest than he is. He is complaining and whining about missing a goal and trying to push the referee for a yellow card is not up to his standards. I believe and we both played the game and I believe when you play the game you not only try to win but try to be honest with your effort. I think it is below his standards. That is just my opinion."
Obviously, I'm biased, but I felt like I had a pretty decent vantage point and had the benefit of instant replay, and I didn't feel like anything that happened yesterday was at all out of the ordinary. There's a difference between giving the ref a hard sell and just plain acting. No glaring examples of invisible snipers come directly to mind and I think Nowak is pretty out of line here.
I think this is probably a case of "working the refs" and trying to lay groundwork that he hopes will allow his team to continue to play physically and not be punished for it. Nowak realizes his team is not as talented as many of the MLS sides and probably intends to be this physical all season. If that means his squad is playing a man down every game, he knows that isn't feasible.
Nowak has to do whatever he feels is best for his team. I can't imagine how calling out Ljundberg accomplishes that.