There are two things that everyone is trying to determine. Was Jones offside on the initial ball in from Chris Tierney and did the ball deflect off of A.J. Soares in the box? I think the best case for offside is actually on the initial ball because it's nearly impossible to tell if there's a deflection when the ball bounces. And honestly, this one is really close. Here's a screen shot from Ben Jata:
We're talking about perhaps Jones leaning forward in an offside position, maybe. If this had been called offside on the field for either reason it'd be hard to overturn it and say that the AR was wrong, this is squarely in "ruling on the field stands" territory if you throw the proverbial challenge flag. I think that Jones is more or less level with the last Crew defender, who if he held his line would've saved us all the trouble here, and I can't say for sure in real time in the ball comes of Soares. Remember, if you have to slow the play down frame-by-frame to see if the AR is right, then in real time it's too close to call and the AR is more likely to keep his flag down.
Now, on to the curious case of Waylon Francis, who received two yellow cards in this game and his second one might be the oddest sending off since Houston Dynamo's Kofi Sarkodie got a second yellow for time wasting on a throw-in.
First, let's go down Francis' timeline of events, and it starts well before Waylon even gets his first card. In the 23rd minute following a handball infraction, Francis gets into it with Andrew Farrell and gets himself a talking to from the referee. Normally not a big deal, but delaying the restart and pushing your opponent during a dead ball is something that you can get cautioned for.
Then, Francis decides to go through Farrell who's shielding the ball out for a corner and this is just unnecessary from Francis here and not 15 minutes ago he got a talking to about getting into it with Farrell. Out comes the yellow card and and a yellow card accumulation suspension. But the second yellow, well, this is a new one.
A second yellow for intentionally delaying a throw-in. We'll get to Charlie Davies in a second, but this entire play is just absolutely odd. Steve Clark comes well off his line to clear a ball with Davies pressuring him. All Clark can do is play it out for a throw in which Davies tries to take immediately but Francis is standing right in front of him. At this point, Francis' fate is sealed, because essentially he's committing a tactical foul here by standing in front of the throw-in and regardless of Davies' antics, that's a second bookable offense. Officially, it goes down as unsporting behavior, because it's not nice to intentionally delay a restart and anyone who thinks that those are two soft yellows in Columbus, you should replace "soft" with "stupid" because that's what both of them were from Waylon Francis who will now miss two games due to suspension for accumulation and the red card and it doesn't start until he's back from international duty.
Other calls in this game for unsporting behavior go to Revs captain Jose Goncalves and noted Revs-killer and Crew playmaker Federico Higuain. Goncalves' wasn't initially clear to me, until I saw the replay that clearly shows the ball is out of play after a long touch from Ethan Finlay and Jose comes in and cleans out the ball and Finlay. It's not malicious or intentional, it's just Goncalves finishing out a play that's been over for a few seconds so that's another silly card to get even if it's harmless on the surface.
Higuain's on the other hand is just down to frustration. The box score says that Higuain fouled Kobayashi on this play but it also could've been pulled back to the challenge from Wil Trapp in my opinion. Higuain also had his hands on the back of Kobayashi before the sliding challenge, which from that angle went much better than most, but he's not booked for the tackle itself, but for launching ball afterwards. Yes, it is unsporting conduct to clear the ball into the back of your own man after you've committed a foul.
Now, we finally arrive at Charlie Davies, and unlike last week when I was okay with Charlie going to ground after getting slapped in the face, this week Charlie is not so lucky. I like Charlie, perhaps not his alma mater so much (Boston College) and unfair or no he's got a reputation and it's cases like going down for no reason with Francis right in front of him that fuel the fire. Again, Francis is already going to get booked and all Charlie has to do is just attempt to throw the ball in, not go to ground like he's been shot. I could've easily predicted the fine that came his way and yea, verily it has come to pass as the MLS DC fined Davies an undisclosed amount for embellishment.
Charlie, I like you buddy, but you've got to tone it down with some of this stuff okay? Thanks.
Also, I'd like to extend some congratulations to SBN's Crew blog Massive Report for their signing of Kei Kamara for 2015 and what I think will be a very successful rebrand to Columbus Crew SC.