In week 20’s Play of the week, PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer looks at an incident in the Philadelphia Union vs. Chivas USA match.
In the 79th minute of the game at PPL Park, Philadelphia’s Conor Casey and Chivas’ Edgar Mejia challenge for the ball in the Chivas penalty area. Mejia wins the ball and it goes back to his goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
Paul explained: “The referee, Jorge Gonzalez, awarded an indirect free-kick to Philadelphia for what he considered a back-pass, which not only caused an angry reaction from a number of Chivas players, which resulted in a second yellow card, therefore red card, to Josue Soto for pushing the referee, but Union went on to score from the resulting free-kick.
“Law 12 states that: ‘An indirect free-kick is awarded to the opposing team if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a teammate’. The key word here is deliberate, that is what the referee has to decide.
“In this play it is obvious that this was not a deliberate pass as the ball rebounded to the keeper from a challenge and not a contrived pass.
“However, this does not excuse the reaction of the Chivas players who clearly overstepped the mark and Soto’s red card for his second yellow card was his own fault. Very few goals are actually scored from indirect free-kicks inside the penalty area but, on this occasion, the goal was well executed which compounded the referee’s incorrect decision.
“Referees must ensure that prior to penalizing a team for a pass to the goalkeeper that it is definitely deliberate. They have to see definite intentions from the player concerned. This clip highlights the dangers of the consequences and the difficulties in managing players and the subsequent free-kick management.”