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Quakes' goal legit, but not Sounders' winner
by Ridge Mahoney, April 21st, 2010 7AM

TAGS:  mls, referees


[MLS REF WATCH] Three incidents from last weekend’s MLS action and one last subplot to the bizarre Jaime Moreno goal from earlier in the season are featured in this week's analysis of what MLS referees did right or wrong. ...

NOT OFFSIDE. Chris Wondolowski snuck in behind the Revs back line to run onto a ball from Ryan Johnson and score the Quakes’ first goal in their 2-0 win Saturday.

As Johnson dribbled toward the penalty area and the Revs’ back line dropped, Wondolowski held his run and was even with defender Darrius Barnes when the ball was played to him. Right back Kevin Allston was also in line with Barnes, who could have played Wondolowski offside by holding his line prior to the ball being passed by Johnson. Barnes raised his arm in an offside appeal, but he’d backtracked just far enough for Wondolowski to be level. It was a close decision but referee’s assistant Said Ravenfar got it right.

The Revs also thought Chris Tierney had been fouled when he and Joey Gjertsen went for a 50-50 ball in the middle third prior to the goal. Gjertsen’s solid tackle upended Tierney as he won the ball before passing to Johnson.

BAD THROW. Seattle scored a stoppage-time winner against Kansas City in its 1-0 win when Michael Fucito ran onto a Brad Evans throw-in to stick a shot past keeper Jimmy Nielsen. A thunderous roar greeted the first MLS goal by Fucito, but it should have been disallowed.

Evans had taken the throw a good 10 yards farther up the right sideline from where the ball had been headed out of play. As the ball sailed over the Sounders’ bench, Evans ran up the sideline well past the bench to receive another ball and toss it behind the Kansas City back line for Fucito to drill into the net.

Sounders commentator Arlo White correctly reminded viewers that Fucito, who was behind the defenders when Evans threw the ball in, can’t be offside on a throw-in. He made no mention of what should have been ruled a foul throw, and neither referee Jair Marrufo or nor referee’s assistant Thomas Supple took any action.

“The referee needs to be aware of where that ball went out and especially at that time of the game in the attacking third,” U.S. Socccer director of referee development Paul Tamberino said to “The referee needs to take the lead there. The assistant referee knows that in the waning seconds of the game his focus needs to be on where that second to last defender is. So the onus comes on the referee.”

NO RED. Once again, the issue of why goalkeepers are rarely given red cards for fouls that deny a clear goalscoring opportunity if a penalty kick is called has come up again.

Rapids goalie Matt Pickens wiped out Sam Cronin in the box without getting the ball, and referee Ricardo Salazar promptly pointed to the spot but didn’t produce a card. Referees have been very inconsistent about sending off players who commit such fouls if they occur in the penalty area, not just goalkeepers, and FIFA is scheduled to review this interpretation next month. Even though it is not specifically spelled out in the rules, if a penalty kick is awarded, referees often caution the offender rather than eject him.

“For this particular case, a yellow works here,” Tamberino said. “We didn’t want any more than a yellow card. We didn’t think it was excessive force. It was definitely reckless.”

There’s been some spirited discussion of the Chris Seitz-Jaime Moreno incident during week 3, when Moreno’s harassment of Seitz as he prepared to kick a ball dropped from his hands instead yielded to a steal of the ball and a very embarrassing goal. Colleague Paul Gardner and I both wrote of the incident and Tamberino’s judgment that the goal should not have been allowed. Readers weighed in, most of whom agreed with Tamberino.

Goalies are given some leeway by the referees partially so there won’t be delays while they hold the ball – they are limited to six seconds – but also so they can pay attention to opponents that may be lurking until they’re ready to get rid of the ball, then concentrate on their kick or throw.

I won’t re-revisit the Seitz-Moreno contretemps except to take note of a reader who disagreed with my reference that Seitz “erred” on the play, as he did the following week by fumbling a free kick and letting it slip into the net. Regardless of referee Terry Vaughn’s decision in the Moreno incident, Seitz’s error was to be distracted by Moreno’s antics, and not simply drop-kick the ball as he intended.

If he booms it upfield and no whistle is blown, he has accomplished what he set out to do and play continues. If he boots it and Vaughn does discipline Moreno, so be it. If Moreno carries through on his “feint” and actually blocks the kick, he’s punished for the foul and might have been cautioned.

  1. Craig Schroeder
    commented on: April 21, 2010 at 8:51 a.m.
    It appears that you, like your colleague, Mr. Gardner, still miss the point. Should Moreno's type of antics be "allowed" for others to equally perform, you've now sanctioned a circus. That's not right, would ruin the game, and hence is the primary reason that it should be disallowed. Goalkeepers should be able to punt and throw balls unhindered. Any other holding is crazy.

  1. John Yunker
    commented on: April 21, 2010 at 12:18 p.m.
    The locations of throw ins is the least enforced rule of soccer. Most throw-ins are taken several yards advanced from where the ball exited the field - the non-call was totally in line with the previous throw ins in the game - I would like to see the location of the throw in enforced but I doubt it, since the flow of the game appears to be more important in the training of the current set of officials.

  1. Rich Perry
    commented on: April 21, 2010 at 1:09 p.m.
    Ridge, I don't know if you are referring to my replies on the matter (don't mean to sound conceited, thinking everything is about me, but I may have come off as sounding angrier than I meant to). My problem with blaming Seitz is two fold, a) It's the rule - such play isn't allowed. Much like the famous 'tuck rule' call in the Patriots vs Raiders game a few years back, which some people still insist it was a bad call. You might not like the rule, but you can't blame ref for enforcing it, or in this case, you should blame ref for not enforcing it. b) I think it's harsh to blame Seitz for unconsciously flinching when he could legitimately have feared that he might have gotten kicked himself had he followed through. Might as well say that Moreno should have gotten 2 free punches to Seitz's shoulder (I think that was the rule 'for flinching' in that game we played many years ago). Plus, as the first response here alluded to, allowing forwards to make such fakes, only punishable if they connect would just encourage silliness on the part of forwards around the league.

  1. Rich Perry
    commented on: April 21, 2010 at 1:49 p.m.
    Oh, I know this is an MLS ref review, but what about the PK that wasn't in the Breakers-Independence game. The offside call was too close to tell from the replay, but the way it all went down did not look good for the ref's part.

  1. Edward Vaughn
    commented on: April 21, 2010 at 3:14 p.m.
    Ridge: This may seem picky but... You wrote: "NOT OFFSIDE. Chris Wondolowski snuck in behind the Revs back..." The correct form is "sneaked". It's like "dived", not "dove." Thanks.

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