Brace yourselves; this is a negative post.
While stumbling across the internet this morning, I came across this post from Chris Enger of Soccer Newsday. If you can't be bothered to read the article, it raises a few controversial topics. Mainly, it accuses the Vancouver Whitecaps of diving in the RSL match, and diving a lot. Now, of course an article like this is going to get my irish up, but for good reason.
The Whitecaps did dive. A lot.
Far more than a team with their caliber of players should. Plus, it wasn't youngsters doing it to try and draw penalties, no it was veteran guys, players like YP Lee.
While slight embellishment is part of the game, Lee took it to daring new heights, diving like Greg Louganis to try and draw a penalty kick. He wasn't even touched, and Lee acted like his legs had been taken out under him, before hitting the ground and staring at the referee, wondering where the call was.
It wasn't his best moment.
Maybe I'm being a little too hard on YP Lee; really, diving is a part of the game, whether or not we like to admit it. Is that justified though? What I mean to say is, should it be accepted and ignored the way it is right now?
I mean, I could go through the match and pull out what I believe were the most egregious flops, but I thought I would open this one up to discussion instead. Soccer has a reputation for being a 'soft' sport, mainly because you see guys flop so dramatically, then writhe on the pitch in faux agony before being told to get the hell up. Well, actually, sometimes the trainers actually come out to the pitch, and are forced to attend to the fakers. It's embarrassing really.
In hockey, diving is met with contempt and disgust. If you flop on the ice, you're seen as a dirty player, or a whiner. Therefore, only agitators and guys paid to get under the skin of their opponents will be seen diving on a regular basis. Slight embellishments do happen more often on penalties, but never with the flair and drama of soccer dives. Perhaps that is why I've taken issue with the Whitecaps performance on the weekend; maybe it's a cultural thing. Hockey is King in Canada, and hockey players are tough as nails; take a puck to the face, stitch them up and they'll be good to go. If you end up on the ice, it's a sign of weakness.
Circling back to my main point here, the Vancouver Whitecaps are simply too good of a team to try and win that way. When you consider the depth on this squad and the unlimited potential going forward, players don't need to flop so obviously; it's not a neccessary part of the Whitecaps game. Thankfully, I haven't seen a whole lot of it since their inception into Major League Soccer. Hopefully it won't become a major trend for the club as they move forward, because I'm pretty sure the Vancouver Canucks have the 'diving' title in this city. (Boom, roasted)
I could rant and rave more here, but I'm interested to see what you all think. I look forward to your comment posts, (and your angry emails).