Already ticked off about his team's 2-0 loss in a scrimmage Sunday against FC Dallas, Union team manager Peter Nowak yesterday blasted what he called the excessive whining over referees' calls, a problem he said would turn MLS into a "freak show."
Nowak said he despises seeing not only opposing coaches, but players, and even equipment managers and other team employees complaining about one call after another.
"It looks bad when a coach is waving his arms on every call," Nowak said.
In conference call yesterday from Tampa, where Sunday's scrimmage was played, Nowak said the constant complaints cast a negative light on the sport.
He said that he won't stand for it from his team, and MLS shouldn't either.
"If this happens with our bench, every single member who complains will have a big problem with me, and have consequences," Nowak said.
"If this continues, the game will become a freak show and looks bad from a television perspective and fans' perspective," he said.
His recommendation? Officials should officiate, the players should play, and the coaches should coach.
"We just started our franchise, and the culture needs to be established from the beginning," Nowak said.
He feels that constant complaining is a way for teams to attempt to intimidate referees.
One suggestion: Nowak shouldn't tune in this week to the NCAA basketball tournament, where the coaches are often more animated than the players.
From a playing standpoint, Nowak said his team has to do a better job of finishing, after failing to capitalize on a few scoring opportunities against Dallas, a Western Division MLS team.
The Union will have another scrimmage Friday in Florida against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Then the regular season (barring a strike) starts the next week.
The Union opens the MLS season March 25 in Seattle. By then, Nowak hopes his team is peaking, and some semblance of sideline decorum is established throughout the league.