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The 3rd Yellow - Revolution vs. DC United: Revs Actually Scored a Penalty Kick

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Just because the Revolution have been on the bad side of some horrendous decisions of late doesn't mean fortune can't smile upon them. Or in this case, just once.

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DC United is probably unhappy that they didn't leave Gillette Stadium with a point last weekend. They're going to point out that the Revs scored a goal that was well offside. And they're half right, Diego Fagundez was offside, but it was much closer than it should have been.

And the only one who should be complaining is Bill Hamid, who once again was brilliant against the Revs and is probably wonder why DC's best offensive player on the day was Scott Caldwell, who by the way, wears blue.

Just one week after the men in yellow's two-goal swing against the Chicago Fire dropped the New England Revolution temporarily out of the playoffs, this time they came baring a gift in the second half. But we start with the Revs' first penalty of the day.


Okay, so while everyone might think this is a "soft" penalty, let's remember one very important thing: if you but a referee in a position to make a call, he's probably going to do so.

DC defender Dejan Jakovic does just that, going in for a 50/50 challenge that he doesn't win and forcing center referee Carlos Rivera to call a penalty. Notice I didn't say he didn't get the ball, because he did, but remember, if you going to make that type of challenge in that position, you can't mess it up. Just because you make contact with the ball doesn't mean you automatically can't get called for a foul. You can take someone out on a follow through and still be whistled for an infraction.

And Jakovic messes up by not winning the ball cleanly and bundles over Lee Nguyen in the process. He does everything right by coming in from the side and does get the ball, but since Nguyen takes a touch at the same moment, he's still in possession theoretically. And on the follow through, Jakovic finishes the challenge without making a clean tackle on the ball. That's a foul, and it's in the box, so it's a penalty. And the problem isn't Jakovic's challenge, it's the fact that this penalty doesn't get called enough in MLS. You know, that consistency thing.

More telling is Jakovic's reaction afterward, which should be the definition of dissent by word and/or action. And he's been sitting on a yellow since the sixth minute and confronts two officials and makes contact with the assistant on the far sideline. I've long said that MLS referees are too lenient on dissent and Jakovic I think was lucky to finish the game after that display.

And for those of you who want to say, "Ball Don't Lie" because Nguyen missed the penalty, just remember that penalties aren't automatic, everyone just thinks they are. Nguyen didn't have his best effort on the spot kicked and it was well saved by Hamid. Made up for on the second one though, which is a stone cold penalty and anyone who thinks otherwise is dumb.


Now, here's the part where DC gets to complain. Diego Fagundez is offside here. Not yards offside like myself and others initially thought, but he's offside none the less.

There are two big problems with this play. The first, Saer Sene doesn't play the pass quick enough, which would have sent Diego through onside and the AR isn't exactly in the best spot to watch his line, he's about a yard in front of the play. Now, Chris Korb does step up very late, and on my best freeze frame/slow-mo replay shots, I have Diego and Korb's trailing legs both on the 21-yard line.

Now, for those of you who want to argue that a foot can keep someone onside, I will disagree with you here. I tend to determine offside by center of mass or shoulders depending on the situation. In this case, with the two players going in opposite directions, let's use center of mass. Diego is more or less on the 20.5 yard line and Korb is on the 21.5, so there's the yard that everyone looking for in separation.

Bad refereeing is still bad refereeing, but this time the Revs were in favor on at least one bad call. The first DC penalty is justified based on the rules of the game but there's no excuse on this level to have back to back weeks of improper offside rulings affecting goals.

But don't worry MLS you're getting better, you only had one wrong offside decision this week, last week it was two.