Photo by ISIphotos.com
Peter Nowak's public criticism of Freddie Ljungberg after last week's 2-0 loss by Nowak's Philadelphia Union against Ljungberg's Sounders figured to cause a stir, but the lingering bad blood fostered by those comments and Ljungberg's response has led to an on-going war of words.
On one side you have Ljungberg, who criticized what he thought was over-the-top physical play by Philadelphia. On the other side you have Nowak, who accused Ljungberg of diving and trying to influence referees with play-acting.
Nowak went right after Ljungberg after the match with some scathing comments. Ljungberg then wrote on his blog about the injury to his back he blamed on a hard first-half foul. Ljungberg then followed up by calling Nowak's comments "low" and "pathetic".
Here is a video of the play in question, a first-half sequence that left Ljungberg on the ground and rookie Toni Stahl facing the first of two yellow cards he would receive on the night:
The video doesn't show much contact, if any, but Ljungberg hits the ground hard and gets up holding his lower back (there is a point where Stahl's leg goes behind Ljungberg where contact could occurred). Ljungberg has been reportedly receiving treatment on his back ever since and is questionable for Saturday's match vs. the Red Bulls.
So who is right and who is wrong? The truth lies somewhere in the middle if you ask me. Philadelphia certainly played a physical match with several indefensible tackles (including one UFC-style tackle by David Myrie), but Ljungberg has made a habit of diving and complaining to referees since arriving in MLS last year. That said, it would seem like a stretch to think that Ljungberg and the Sounders have concocted an entire charade to pretend Ljungberg was injured (though some Philly fans might argue he could have hurt himself throwing himself to the Qwest Field turf).
Who do you think is right in this war of words? Cast your vote here:
What do you think of the video? Starting to wonder if Ljungberg was injured by a foul, or do you see contact? Think Nowak was out of line for criticizing Ljungberg, or was there truth in Nowak's words?
Share your thoughts below.