Saturday, December 1, 2012

Call Analysis: 2012 MLS Championship Game

Following the Los Angeles Galaxy's 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo during Saturday's MLS Cup at the Home Depot Center, several Dynamo players questioned calls made by referee Silviu Petrescu during the match. The following includes several player and coach comments and subsequent video replay analysis of the respective plays' Qualities of Correctness.

48th Minute Offside Call: Robbie Keane Goal Negated
QOC: Correct Call / Video: David Beckham's free kick deflects to Keane, who is correctly ruled offside.
Analysis: Tommy Meyer attempts to deflect a free kick to Keane, who is offside at the time of last contact.

60th Minute Out-of-Bounds: Corner Kick to Galaxy
Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall: "It's a clear header by the other team. It's frustrating because it's close to the linesman and the referee both miss it."
QOC: Correct Call / Video: N/A
Analysis: Header attempts on descending drives wherein the offensive player jumps to a height greater than that of his opponent often provides a difficult opportunity to rule final contact. In this situation, offensive player Gonzalez's attempt was ruled to have deflected off his defender before bounding wide of the goal post. The ball's trajectory suggests this call was correct; lack of conclusive evidence suggests this call was not incorrect.

63rd Minute Foul: Second Keane Goal Called Back
QOC: Correct Call / Video: Omar Gonzalez is ruled to have fouled his opponent on a header.
Analysis: Though Gonzalez's arms may have been pinned or clamped between his opponent's bicep and forearm, if Gonzalez was ruled to have held his opponent and this was the primary action employed.

65th Minute Handball: Penalty Kick Awarded to LA after Illegal Use of Hands in Goal Area
Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark: "It definitely wasn't voluntary."
QOC: Correct Call / Video: Clark blocks Mike Magee's attempt by handling the ball
Analysis: Though the Laws state the corresponding infraction as requiring the player to "handle the ball deliberately," the official is instructed to consider, amongst other criteria, whether the ball has moved towards the hand/arm or the hand/arm towards the ball. Replays indicate Clark's arm appeared to move into the path of the shot attempt, rather than the ball moving toward an established position of his hand and arm.

93rd Minute Penalty: PK as GK Hall Holds And/Or Recklessly Trips Keane to Earn Yellow Card
HOU Manager Dominic Kinnear: "I do think that Tally Hall touched the ball before Robbie Keane went down."
HOU GK Tally Hall: "I did touch it before. I know there was contact, but the referee can't see everything...If I hadn't touched it, I think it would have been a fair shout for a penalty, but because I got something on it, I think I'm probably OK there."
QOC: Correct Call / Video: Complete sequence of Keane's stoppage time goal to ice the contest
Analysis: Law 12 specifies referees shall judge play, if a trip is to be ruled, in relation to 3 levels of severity.
1) No Booking for Careless conduct—which includes lack of attention or acting without precaution.
2) Yellow Card for Reckless conduct—a player acts with complete disregard to the danger to his opponent.
3) Red Card for Excessive force—far exceeding necessary use of force; in danger of injuring an opponent.
If holding is to be ruled (and in addition to a direct free or penalty kick), no booking is required unless:
1) Yellow Card for Unsporting behavior—clearly prevents opponent from gaining possession or advantage.
2) Red Card for "DOGSO"—Denying an Obvious GoalScoring Opportunity by holding an opponent.
Referee Petrescu may also have been correct to issue a red card for DOGSO in this situation; however, because the violator was a goalkeeper, the DOGSO and excessive standards are elevated.

Wrap: Houston Dynamo vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS Cup), 12/1/12


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