[REF WATCH] The USA's goal against Sweden came after Abby Wambach struck the ball into the net from her upper arm. Should it have counted? And why did Amy LePeilbet escape with only a yellow card?
We asked referee Randy Vogt, the author of "Preventive Officiating," for his take:
“The ball hit off Abby Wambach's upper arm,” Vogt says. “But I believe that it was a valid goal as any handling was not deliberate -- so good non-call by the ref Etsuko Fukano.”
Indeed, the rulebook states that, “Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with his hand or arm.” Which means a player can score with the hand or arm if it’s not on purpose.
The USA got a break when Fukano showed LePeilbet a yellow card instead of a red card for her foul on Lotta Schelin that gave Sweden the penalty kick for its first goal in its 2-1 win.
LePeilbet denied Schelin an "obvious goalscoring opportunity" because, says Vogt, the four D's were present:
* Number of Defenders: Only keeper Hope Solo was closer to the goal line.
* Distance to the ball: Schelin was playing the ball
* Distance to the goal: Near goal as it was inside the penalty area.
* Direction: Schelin was headed directly to the goal.
Vogt adds that, “A referee giving a penalty kick and a red card on the same play can obviously have a great impact on the game. The ref must first decide a penal foul was committed inside the penalty area, then that all four D's were present, in a little more than a nanosecond. That's part of what makes refereeing so challenging.
“I cannot think of any other sport in which a referee has so much power, and pressure, as the penalty kick and red card combination can have an enormous impact on who wins and loses.”
The USA fought for an equalizer until the very end but was lucky that what would have been the third Swedish goal -- early in stoppage time -- was judged to be offside. It was relatively close, notes Vogt, but the replay confirmed that Schelin, who scored it, was onside when the pass was made.