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EducationPlay of the Week

Play of the Week 23: Examining the criteria for DOGSO

By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer

In Play of the Week 23 I would like to examine the criteria for DOGSO (Denial of an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity) to attempt to dispel the misconceptions that exist amongst the players, coaches and indeed the media, who all seem to believe that a ‘last man’ rule exists.

I have two examples that highlight my point; one from the Montreal Impact versus New York Red Bulls game (13:25 to 14:53) and the second being in Colorado Rapids versus Columbus Crew (49:00 to 49:58).

Firstly, let’s remind ourselves of the criteria laid down in the Laws of the Game…

Referees should consider the following circumstances when deciding whether to send off a player for denying a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity:

– The distance between the offense and the goal
– The likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
– The direction of the play
– The location and number of defenders

In the game between Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls, Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips chests the ball past Impact’s Laurent Ciman, who reacts by deliberately handling the ball. There is no doubt that his act denies Bradley the chance of a promising goal scoring opportunity, and he is shown the yellow card by referee Ted Unkel for a tactical foul.

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Judging by their reaction, the New York players, coach and commentators all expected a red card. You will see that center official Unkel explains to the protesting Red Bulls players that there was a covering defender, Montreal’s Victor Cabrera.

So when we apply law here we have to consider the criteria of ‘the distance between the offense and the goal’ and ‘the location and number of defenders’. The most important criteria for the referee is whether or not the goal scoring opportunity is OBVIOUS!

As Wright-Phillips is 42 yards from goal and has to regain control of the ball, this gives the covering defender Cabrera the chance of catching him and making a challenge. Therefore, the opportunity cannot be OBVIOUS!

In the game between Colorado Rapids and Columbus Crew, Crew’s Kei Kamara plays the ball past Rapids’ Axel Sjoberg, who then fouls Kamara. As in the previous play, the foul denies him the chance of a promising goal scoring opportunity and he is also shown the yellow card by referee Alan Kelly for a tactical foul.

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Again, if you look at the reaction of Kamara and the commentary, they expected a red card to be shown. In this case the criteria is the same as the previous play; ‘the distance between the offense and the goal’ and ‘the location and number of defenders’. The most important criteria for the referee is whether or not the goal scoring opportunity is OBVIOUS!

Kamara is 50 yards from goal and there is a covering defender in Bobby Burling, who is 20 yards away but in a deeper location with the chance of catching the striker and making a challenge, which renders this goal scoring opportunity promising but not OBVIOUS!

Remember, the key word when considering DOGSO is OBVIOUS!

Not likely, not possibly, and certainly not last man – OBVIOUS!



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