Tag Archive | "Freddie Ljungberg"

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Johnson saves the game for the Fire; Red Bulls play to scorless tie

Posted on 14 August 2010 by dkarell

With all the light bulbs flashing in the stands, and the five designated players dazzling with their skills on the field, it was a rookie goalkeeper who spun the highlight reel and shined the brightest of them all.

Chicago Fire’s Sean Johnson, making just his second career start, made several huge saves in the last 20 minutes of the match to keep the clean sheet.

The New York Red Bulls failed to score a goal, despite having Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry, Mac Kandji, and new signing Rafa Marquez all on the field at the same time.

For Chicago, it was Freddie Ljungberg’s first start for the club, and eventually, after being brought into the game in the second half, the debut for new signing Nery Castillo.

Chicago began the game with plenty of posession, taking advantage of the consistantly out of place Red Bull midfield to launch attacks upfield.

Ljungberg played like a man posessed, making strong runs through the middle of the field, and early on being the focal point of the offense.

However, the Red Bull defensive line stayed strong, and were able to repel many of the early Fire attacks.

After twenty minutes, Thierry Henry had his first chance of the game for the Red Bulls, dribbling past a couple of defenders, but his shot on goal was week and went right to Johnson.

Towards the end of the first half, Chicago had a great chance to take the lead. Brian McBride took advantage of Tim Ream, who was caught up field and out of position, as he dribbled in towards goal. McBride saw the forward run from Ljungberg, and played him a through ball. But Ljungberg was unable to get a shot off, as the bouncing pass deflected off of his shin and out of play.

After Thierry Henry left the match in the 45th minute, due to muscle cramps, his replacement Dane Richards made an immediate impact.

Marquez played a long through ball on the ground into the box, and Richards was able to beat his man and race onto the ball. His quickly played pass through the box missed everyone though, and the Red Bulls had to settle for a 0-0 scoreline at the half.

In the second half, the Red Bulls began to control the game more, using more possession, and being patient on the attack.

In the 68th minute, Johnson made his first of many huge saves, when Juan Pablo Angel’s quick strike from just outside of the left side of the box was sizzling towards the near post, before being parried away.

With the Red Bulls holding the momentum, and looking for a win, coach Hans Backe brought in Salou Ibrahim in the 80th minute to try and get the game’s first goal. This set up an epic final ten minutes of the match.

Johnson made a name for himself, saving a shot from Seth Stammler, a terrific volley off a corner kick from Tim Ream, and a header from Angel, all in the span of a couple of minutes.

In the end, the Red Bulls and Fire settled for the 0-0 draw, though it was by no means a boring match.

The draw hurts New York though, who has not won a game in MLS play since June 26, a 3-0 win at Kansas City. Since then, they have recorded four draws and a loss.

The Red Bulls shake off the dust quickly, as they head back to Red Bull Arena to face Toronto F.C. on Wednesday, August 11.

Match Facts

Scoring Summary:

None

Discipline Summary:

CHI – Baggio Husidic (Yellow Card) 31’
NYRB – Tim Ream (Yellow Card) 32’
NYRB – Carlos Mendes (Yellow Card) 80

Lineups:

Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Dasan Robinson (Steven Kinney, 59’), C.J. Brown, Wilman Conde, Krzystof Krol; Marco Pappa (Deris Umanzor, 92’), Logan Pause Baggio Husidic, Mike Banner; Freddie Ljungberg; Brian McBride (C) (Nery Castillo, 56’)

New York Red Bulls: Bouna Coundoul; Chris Albright, Carlos Mendes, Tim Ream, Roy Miller; Rafael Marquez (Seth Stammler, 61’), Tony Tchani (Salou Ibrahim, 80’), Joel Lindpere, Macoumba Kandji; Thierry Henry (Dane Richards, 45’), Juan Pablo Angel

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee’s Assistants: Daniel Belleau; James Conlee
4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Clear and 85 degrees
Attendance: 21,868

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Freddie Ljungberg

Posted on 25 May 2010 by Kyle Alm

Although this is not the first time Freddie Ljungberg has been questioned about his on pitch demeanor by fans or commentators, this is the first time that any of the Sounders has been criticized so harshly by Coach Sigi Schmid. Ljungberg has higher expectation than any player at the club with possible exceptions being Kasey Keller and Fredy Montero. The expectations on Keller may be lower given his age and past performances for the US Men’s National Team. Montero has high expectations that are based on “potential.” Ljungberg’s expectations are rooted in his status as a Designated Player and his large, by MLS standards, salary on the happy side of $1 million.

Ljungberg’s multiple outbursts directed at referee Alex Prus on Saturday while a good game was going on indicated that the Swede is far from happy on the pitch in Seattle. Ljungberg shouts at his teammates, argues with the officials, and recently he was on the sidelines arguing with Schmid. Ljungberg’s demonstrations on the pitch on Saturday had to be seen to believed. He totally lost his cool as he shook his fist at an opposing player after complaining to Prus about not getting foul called. But there is a reason why Freddie Ljungberg doesn’t get every call.

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There is a school of thought, that basketball fans will surely recognize, that dictates that if you foul enough you will get away with enough fouls to have effectively changed the pace and tempo of a game to your favor. Ljungberg is the most second most fouled player in MLS currently after leading the league in 2009. He gets that call more than anyone in the league and he’s complaining that he doesn’t get enough calls?

In defense of Ljungberg, he’s the second most fouled player in the league currently after leading the league in 2009. The sheer volume of which are enough to believe they are part of a deliberate and cynical defensive strategic against Ljungberg and Montero. Ljungberg has missed games due to injury a few different times after getting roughed up by opposing players. It’s a frustrating game where you take 18 shots and can’t score. When you don’t connect passes with teammates well or when you have only scored on goal in your Sounders career, and have yet to score a goal at Qwest it must be very frustrating. Especially when you are the team’s captain, highest paid player and should be the best player on the team. I doubt very seriously that Arsene Wenger would tolerate that kind of behavior for Arsenal, but it’s OK for the Sigi and for the Sounders. That d of attitude doesn’t carry much water in my opinion. The fans deserve better than what they have been getting from Ljungberg he’s a professional athlete, not a petulant child, and it’s time showed some maturity.

Arsène Wenger

“I played on the biggest teams in the world and you need to get upset if the ref is not doing the right thing,” Ljungberg said. “If you lose your passion, you won’t play. I don’t agree on that.”

You know who else quipped about their pedigree like that? David Beckham. It’s indefensible Euro-snobbery. Freddie, you play for Sounders FC currently. Played is the right word, because it is played out. Played, as in used to play? Players who talk about the past aren’t passionate, they are complacent. How many times has a referee ever reversed a call on the pitch? Exactly zero. None. Plus I don’t think that was what your coach was saying to you.

“You need to have your passion to play and I think that’s what the fans want to see as well. People that care, reaction if there is something that happens.”

Wrong again. Passion to “play” is not what fans want to see. Fans want see a passion to compete and to win. Not to “play.” Kids “play.” Professionals compete to win. What Ljungberg did on the pitch did nothing to help his team win. Did nothing to help him get a call. Do you know how many times I have seen a referee reverse a call? Exactly zero.

Pretty good advice from the other Sounders captain. Sounds like he gave it yesterday instead of pre-2009, maybe it will finally sink in.

PS How about a goal Freddie? Score a goal. At home in front of your fans.. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe that you have done that. Perhaps that should be your focus.

Qwest Field with Seattle in the background
Image via Wikipedia
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Unfinished Business – San Jose 1 Seattle 0

Posted on 22 May 2010 by Kyle Alm

Stuff like this caught Schmid's ire...

San Jose took three points on the road at Qwest Field and all it took was three shots. The Quakes put one shot on goal in the 11th minute and that was all that it took. The ball was crossed by Brandon McDonald from the far right all the way across, past James Riley and Bobby Burling, dropping to a wide-open Chris Wondolowski who did not leave any doubt that he can finish.

Sounders got behind the high back-line of the San Jose Earthquakes, won 11 corners (one shy of the team record for all you stat nerds), took 18 shots but only manage three shots on frame.

There were many positive things about the match. Nyassi was productive and his replacement also did quite well. Gonzalez and Riley were able to contain Gjertsen and Convey respectively, certainly a big key to the game and probably why San Jose only managed three shots. Sounders not only took a fairly large number of corner kicks but they looked in control and turned corner kicks into scoring opportunities.

Finishing, remains the team’s bugaboo. Blaise N’kufo simply cannot get here soon enough.

The real bombshell hit at the press conference when Sigi Schimd made several overtures that are seemingly directed at Freddie Ljungberg, wondering why unnamed players throw up their hands when there is a bad pass or arguing with the referee when the play is going on. Freddie Ljungberg, you are no longer in the good graces of Sigi Schmid and are officially on notice.

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Michael Fucito Goal Celebration

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Fucito winner saves Sounders at Qwest

Posted on 18 April 2010 by Kyle Alm

The gray Seattle sky served as an appropriate backdrop for the Sounders on Saturday. Both teams started quickly in the first half and had chances to score, but the game became quite slow with both teams seemingly content to play from their defensive half when the other team had the ball. After 91 minutes of dreary dullness that seemed so pervasive during the Sounders vs Kansas City match a single bright spot stood out. Michael Fucito netted his first goal as a Sounder after coming on in the 85th minute for Steve Zakuani. It was first goal that Kansas City has allowed all season, first goal in stoppage time in Sounders history, and probably the first assist off of a throw-in. Evans to Fucito. Substitute to substitute.

“I saw Brad had the ball and I just kind of ran through trying to stretch them. It was a great throw great pass, and I turned and I was one on one with the goalie, hit it, and you know, I finished it well, it was unbelievable.”

Michael Fucito goal celebration

The fans at Qwest erupt as Michael Fucito scores the winner in the 92nd minute.

I wonder if the Wizards defenders are going to receive calls from their old coaches asking them about how Fucito got so open? Fucito had no one around him and only needed one touch to beat Jimmy Nielsen for the winner. Fans at Qwest who had been loud all game suddenly exploded with delight.

But it only took a few moments for the Sounders to show weakness as Kansas City promptly came down and shot the ball just wide of Kasey Keller’s post. That would have been a major letdown. Talk about the air going out of the building. Questions galore at that point.

There are still plenty of questions about the starting lineup that the Sounders put on the pitch. Ljungberg was not sharp today, nor was he sharp against Real Salt Lake last week. His touch was heavy, he isn’t going to beat anyone off the dribble and his passing was off. He was called offsides at a point late in the game that cost the Sounders a scoring opportunity. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid in his post-game statement was quick to mention how well Vagenas controls the ball in midfield and how important it was to his game plan against KC. It worked. Despite a couple of dangerous turnovers that lead to KC chances. Still Vagenas’ mistakes didn’t hurt, so he can be forgiven.

Now that we are four games into the season I’ll revisit my Seven questions for the Seattle Sounders 2010 Season post from the beginning of the season.

Nate Jaqua: I’ve heard he’s “training,” but he’s not going to be playing real soon, probably in a couple of weeks. Hasn’t had a chance to produce.

James Riley: Riley has been solid since he has been back. He does give players a lot of space up til the edge of the box. Hasn’t hurt him consistently that I can tell.

Fredy Montero: Has really improved getting the ball to his teammates with the exception of Freddie Ljungberg. For some reason the two best players on the pitch are never on the same page. He’s got assists and goals and will be in the running for a Golden Boot if he doesn’t transfer to CSKA Moscow or wherever the next rumor takes him.

Steve Zakuani: Major improvement, may be having the best season of any Sounder, Montero has a major stake in that argument. But Zakuani hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. That yellow card today was silly, he should have put his hands on the ref. In his defense the ref did come towards him and I think Zakuani was letting him know he was close enough, but I digress. Zakuani is a dangerous player and has continued to show improvement from game to game.

Freddie Ljungberg: Truculent at times, talks to the ref too much, and hasn’t been able to sync up with Montero well, which is a tragedy when you think about how much better the team would be. In the past I thought that the problem was with Montero not releasing the ball early enough or not looking for passes but I am wondering if Freddie Ljungberg has more to do with it that I would like to admit.

Kasey Keller: Solid in goal. As usual. No worries there.

Corner Kicks & Set Pieces: Ugh. This needs it’s own post later this week devoted to this subject. I’ll just say that they are probably productive compared to the rest of the league and are really lacking in creativity, there are few instances where the ball doesn’t go exactly where you expect it to. A little misdirection can be a good way to find some space.

Rookie Class: Fucito got us three points today, I’d say that the 2010 Rookie Class for the Sounders is meeting or exceeding expectations for being productive. Estrada hasn’t had a breakthrough yet. Fucito remarked that his second game was a more settled affair for him. The same will also be true for Estrada .

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What awaits the Sounders tonight

Posted on 03 April 2010 by Kyle Alm

For the New York Red Bulls 2009 had to be disappointing. As runners up for the MLS Cup in 2008 they were expected to compete for a championship again. The Red Bulls came into Seattle as a team to beat and left as a study in moppishness. By any measure the Red Bulls tanked last season. Lowest point total in the league. Fewest goals scored.

The other side of that argument is that the Red Bulls were never really that good in the first place. Lowest point total for MLS 2008 playoff teams and the worst Goals Against of any playoff team. They were fortunate to wind up in the final and it may have been too optimistic to place them among the elite in the league. There has been a lot of discussion with a similar theme, “new stadium, new coach, new players, new team,” but who are these “new” Red Bulls?

Hans Backe has been brought in as head coach; he’s a newcomer to MLS, but has a lot of experience in “lower” European leagues and has won championships. Joel Lindpere has certainly been a noteworthy and productive midfielder so far, but it is still only one match into the season. Juan Pablo Angel is apparently still getting fit from his knee injury and may not be the player that he once was. Winning can cover any number of sins and shortcomings. When you lose everything is under a microscope. The win against the Chicago Fire doesn’t really prove anything for the Red Bulls, let’s see how they do away from their new stadium.

As for the Sounders everything seems to be lining up favorably. Ljungberg seemed to do whatever he wanted on the pitch, the only way that the Union seemed able to contain him by fouling him repeatedly. James Riley will be returning from a one-match suspension and will likely get the start tonight. Riley may not be the best defender in MLS but he doesn’t seem to make a lot of mistakes and he gets forward very well and had a career high in assists (and games) in 2009. The Sounders are definitely better with Riley on the pitch.

Key Matchups

Steve Zakuani – Jeremy Hall
Zakuani beat the Union defenders like a pack of rented mules. Zakuani could be one of the fastest wings in MLS and was instrumental in creating a goal for Evans and left a sitter for Roger Levesque that went into the North End stands.
Advantage SOUNDERS

Brad Evans – Joel Lindpere

Lindpere’s goal against the Chicago Fire was a very decent volley, the setup wasn’t all that great, it just kind of bounced to him and he got a shot. Lindpere is not the kind of player you can allow to shoot. He doesn’t need much space to get his shot off. Evans is a good midfielder, and a decent defender, should match up well with Lindpere physically. If Evans can keep Lindpere contained and keep him off of his goal pace it will be considered a successful outing.
Advantage EVEN

Questions:

Will Freddie Ljungberg start?
He’s been in training and is available for today’s match, but is a game time decision after due to heavy bruising from the Union.
LIKELY YES

Who starts on the right wing for Sounders FC Roger Levesque or Sanna Nyassi?
Levesque missed a couple of opportunities to score against the Union, but at least he had a chance to score and it didn’t hurt his team’s result. Sanna Nyassi looked good with the ball on his foot, which is a big improvement from last season, and was also able to use his speed to his advantage. Nyassi was trigger happy coming on and had a couple of shots where he had players open. Nyassi is also as fast as he is undersized. Nyassi could be more vulnerable to getting knocked off the ball.
TOSSUP (but look for both of them to play no matter who starts)

PREDICTION
2-0 Sounders, another clean sheet for Man of the Match Kasey Keller and deja vu for the Red Bulls.

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Ready for Sounders 2.0?

Posted on 25 March 2010 by Kyle Alm

Today is the opening game of MLS season XV. There will be rejoicing in Seattle for we have a collective bargaining agreement and we have a season. And we are playing host to First Kick for the second time in a row, itself a fortunate turn of events. It’s a safe bet that this game would be played in Philadelphia if their stadium was ready.

Seb Le Toux as a Sounder ©ASN/David Lindsay

It’s been said over and over again. So by now everyone has heard that the Seattle Sounders had one of, if not the best seasons an expansion side has ever had–both from a business perspective and on the pitch. In terms of ticket sales and money spent at the stadium, Seattle is one of the top in the league. The new expansion teams in Philadelphia, Portland, and Vancouver will be measured against us. Tonight, it should be interesting to see the Philadelphia soccer fan in action. They booed Santa Claus right?

The Union have done things in more low-key manner compared to the Sounders. Seattle made a pair of big signings with Freddie Ljungberg and Kasey Keller and rolled the dice on Fredy Montero. Seems like a no-brainer now, but no one else did it.

Philadelphia has hired a coach in Peter Nowak with a proven track record in and out of MLS.

A couple of questions for today’s match:

1. Will Sebastien Le Toux play for a full 90? Will he even start?

2. How does Danny Mwanga, #1 pick in this year’s draft, compare to Steve Zakuani? Estrada probably won’t play today but it will be worth noting how productive a player he can be. Estrada looked pretty good against Portland.

3. How are the pieces of Philadelphia’s expansion draft coming together compared to Seattle’s? Several people were surprised that Riley wasn’t taken along with Le Toux in the expansion draft. Although Riley won’t be playing today serving a suspension from last season, it will be worth evaluating how Philly’s back line holds up against Seattle’s attack.

Ultimately if the Sounders have difficulty creating opportunities today their scoring woes could continue. Evans will probably fill in at right back for Riley. Although it wasn’t necessarily Evans’ fault, the goal that the USL Timbers scored two weeks ago came right up his side.

Win, lose, or draw I’m sure most people will be happy that the season is starting. Unless there’s some kind of atrocious mistake that leads to a draw or a loss.

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Seven questions for the Seattle Sounders 2010 season

Posted on 06 March 2010 by Kyle Alm

All things being equal, it appears the Seattle Sounders will continue down the path of their early success. Certainly everyone is very keen to get down to Royal Brougham and see the matches again. A year ago, as an expansion team, expectations were low. Even if the owners’ and players’ stated goal was to make the playoffs in the first season, no one would have been disappointed if the team didn’t make the postseason at all. It was a great run to inaugurate the the team and the city of Seattle in 2009.

This year is very different. The Sounders are U.S. Open Cup Champions and are playing in the CONCACAF Champions’ League. The thought of not making the playoffs is disconcerting and the thought of a losing season practically unbearable for Sounders nation.

Here are seven questions areas in rough order of importance to the team in 2010:

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Nate Jaqua: Needs to improve his finishing touch from last season to show that he was only in a goal scoring slump and not beginning a decline in his career. Jaqua can be a creative passer and was moved out on the wing where he prefers to play towards the end of the season, but doubts remain.

James Riley: Philly decided against selecting Seattle’s starting right back in the expansion draft. Age could not have been a factor; Riley is 27 which is not old for professional sports unless you are a female gymnast.

Fredy Montero: Spends too much time on the ball. Can’t remember him making a one-touch pass during the season. Ljungberg seemed furious with the precocious Colombian at times when he didn’t get the ball back. Montero is a single-minded striker.

Steve Zakuani: Has great pace with the ball. Few defenders can keep up with his pace. But he didn’t score many goals or get assists, and that’s what offense is really about: Creating and finishing chances. Needs to avoid a “sophomore slump” and improve skill to match his athletic prowess.

Freddie Ljungberg: Can the most fouled player in MLS stay healthy? This didn’t seem to be an issue for him last season, and Ljungberg was probably one of the fittest players on the team. But there are going to be a few more matches on the schedule this time around, and we are all one year older aren’t we?

Kasey Keller: Along with Houston’s Pat Onstad showing why life really is better at 40. Keller and Onstad are two of the oldest and best players in MLS. Mr. Keller’s continued health is crucial to the success of the Sounders, but it seems likely that he will be healthy and available for the entire season.

Corner Kicks & Set Pieces: Sounders were awful at set pieces and corners. Patrick Ianni scored a brilliant overhead kick against Houston on a corner, but the team needs more goals off corners and free kicks.

Honorable Mention
Rookie Class: No one is counting on any of the first year players to get Seattle to the playoffs, but if one or (wonder of wonders) two of them have breakthrough seasons it could really give the Sounders a lift in the US Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions’ League and of course the MLS.

So that’s what’s on my mind as the Sounders get ready to start the 2010 season. Of course keeping players healthy is going to be the primary indicator of success, as it is in any team sport. The Sounders don’t seem to have many glaring holes. Other leading teams haven’t signed new DPs or major names. One could only speculate that the CBA has anything to do with the seemingly slow offseason in terms of personnel moves that bring players to MLS. Raul and Thierry Henry are rumored to be joining the New York Red Bulls, but the majority of player moves were outbound (Blanco and possibly Donovan). Sounders are going to compete for a playoff spot and the MLS Cup but it’s only if they stay healthy and get an improvement out of Jacqua, Zakuani and Montero.

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MLS refs need to stop hack-a-Freddie/Fredy tactics

Posted on 27 July 2009 by Kyle Alm

Freddie Ljungberg is fourth in MLS in fouls suffered with 38 fouls suffered in 14 matches. Fredy Montero has the suffered the second highest number of total fouls in Major League Soccer, with 42 in 16 matches. Despite the high number of calls the Swede does get, the Sounders captain is known to voice his opinion in the referee’s ear every match about the calls that don’t go his way.

The general strategy against the Sounders seems to be to hack at Montero and Ljungberg persistently and expect that the referee can’t or won’t make every call.

Ljungberg may be deserving of more calls. Like the Dynamo, Chicago Fire put a lot of physical pressure on the Sounders early. There were some early retaliatory fouls and a lot of playing through the backs of players that wasn’t called. The physical play continued to escalate throughout the match and most of it was allowed.

I disagree with people who say that calling too many fouls slow the match down. I tend to place the blame on the fouls themselves. Fouls need to be called and if correct call is made consistently fouling should decline. The beautiful simplicity of the match is that if you make an attempt to play the ball you are most likely in the clear. If you attempt to play the player, it’s a foul. Refs need to call fouls and give cards before players begin to retaliate against each other.

These are professional players who have played their entire lives and they know when they get fouled, and they have a pretty good idea of when a play is malicious, honest, or ‘professional.’

The dive is another matter. There is altogether too much diving in soccer at every level and it needs to stop. Giving a yellow card is appropriate punishment.

Freddie Ljungberg went mad after being called for a dive just outside of the Chicago Fire’s penalty area. He could not believe it. Upon the replay it was clear that Ljungberg was barely impeded outside of the box and tried to play the referee for another call. The Swede received his second yellow for petulance. The Sounders relinquished their man advantage over the Fire merely five minutes after John Thorrington was sent off for his second yellow.

Sigi Schmid later said that he knew it was coming as soon as Thorrington was sent off.

Referees really get tired of complaining. Ljungberg lost his composure completely in a match where he had been hacked at persistently. A critical advantage for a crucial three points would have leveled Seattle and first place Houston on the table were lost on Ljungberg’s outburst.

But what does it take to get called for a dive? Is it persistence? With the advantage of hindsight the referee should have let it go as a no-call as a mere embellishment. There were easily three other instances of Fire players going to the turf as easily as Ljungberg had. It was certainly embellished, I won’t say that it was a dive, but Ljungberg went to turf easily, but there were more incriminating instances of diving than that play. You need only mention the name ‘Blanco.’

The Sounders FC and their fans should expect more from the designated player than that. Ljungberg needed to keep his cool and try and win his club three points especially since he would be missing the next match because of his accumulated yellow cards now totaled five.

Aside from the shear spectacle of the Brougham End’s and their protest of Qwest Field Security, the amount of cards handed out, near misses and drama of a match with another league leader, it was quite a memorable nil-nil draw. The posts were lucky to be standing by the end of that match. After both players had been sent off there was still plenty of action. Montero nearly had the winner and a share the league’s goal lead with a strike that rocketed past Jon Busch and of the corner of the frame in the 80th minute. And a similar response from the Fire’s Prideaux who responded with a header off that bounced back into play off of Kasey Keller’s frame.

Not to mention Jacqua’s inability to finish a goal. He had no less than three wonderful opportunities to score point blank that all went begging.

Instead all anyone wants to talk about is why one situation gets called and not the other. The true problem isn’t one of diving but with the consistency of officiating in MLS. If one gets called and similar situation gets let go it’s still in the best interest of players to foul. Officiating has let the last couple of matches get out of hand because of the tactics employed. There needs to be more calls and earlier cautions (I hate seeing referee’s give continual warnings, a caution is a warning) before retaliation between players. Otherwise they might as well let the players settle the match themselves without the referees.

If the MLS wants to attract players of quality we need to have a league that is quality. We need officiating that is consistent. The players MLS wants to bring over, that will attract more fans and more advertising revenue, won’t sign on to be the league’s tackling dummy. Just like the fans don’t want to see a million dollar dive and rolling around on the turf until a whistle gets blown.

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