CARSON, Calif. – Rob Friend will pay the fine and said he's “got to move on” after MLS sanctioned him this week for embellishment on a play in which he won a penalty kick in the LA Galaxy's loss Saturday at Colorado.
He doesn't agree with the fine, said he has no doubt that the penalty kick was deserved and said he doesn't care that in certain fan circles he's acquired a reputation as something of a diver.
“What's embellishment? Going down easier than you should?” said Friend, a towering target forward who joined LA this season after more than a decade in Europe. “At the end of the day, I don't think anyone would disagree that it's a foul. I'm 6-foot-5, a guy shouldn't be nicking my face with his foot in the penalty box when I have a free chance there to bring it down and have a free shot on net.
“… I'm not one and I don't think it's right to be cheating, to fully dive if you don't have any contact. I think that's not right, that should be taken out, the game should not have that and I agree with punishing players like that. But, again, if we're talking on this play, I think it was a foul. Simple as that.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena thought it was a foul. He also thought Friend's fine was “appropriate.”
“I think there's embellishment on the play,” Arena said. “I think he was fouled, for an indirect kick.”
Referee Hilario Grajeda pointed to the spot, and Robbie Keane fired wide with the shot.
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Keane also missed a penalty kick in the Galaxy's season opener, a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. Friend won that penalty, too, and was accused of embellishing but escaped sanction.
“I'll stand by that was contact in the box,” Friend said. “Once in a while, when your back's against the wall, maybe you go down a little bit lighter than you should, but that's different that when you're not getting contact and you're really trying to milk something.
"That's not acceptable, but when you do get contact, once in a while in a game that happens, that's part of the game, that's always been part of the game. I don't think that's in any way embellishing, cheating, any of that.”