Houston-DC United DOGSO?

English: Pat Onstad of Houston Dynamo making a...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 39th minute of the Houston – DC United match of March 2, Referee Baldomero Toledo awarded a penalty kick when Houston’s Clark was tripped by DC’s Kolb. The video can be seen here:


There are a number of things we can learn from the sequence.

Toledo was caught up field when the ball was quickly cleared by Houston and a DC defender that might have slowed the counterattack slipped and fell. Toledo was actually back-pedaling in the opposite direction almost twenty yards away when Clark broke free. He then began a shallow diagonal sprint from attacking right to attacking left. This unfortunately left him directly behind the players 35 yards deep when the contact occurred. After the contact, Toledo waited for the follow-up shot that was smothered and then blew the whistle. This allowed him to close the distance to about fifteen yards when the whistle blew. He then continue his sprint towards the foul as Houston tried to take another shot on goal, ending up in the PA at about the time everyone was looking around for what he was going to call. The lesson here: continue our run when we are caught out of position, especially when selling a call is enhanced with proximity.

Because Toledo made the decision to award a PK he only delayed the whistle long enough to see if the immediate next shot put the ball in the net. When it deflected out to the attacking right, he blew the whistle and did not wait for a second shot (that was also blocked). The lesson here: if our decision is PK, the only reason to wait is to see if the ball *immediately* goes into the goal.

Because he was directly behind the players at the time of the foul, Toledo does not have good perspective on where the contact occurred. The video shows that while the ball had reached the PA line, contact occurred outside the PA, and does not show continuation contact into the PA – in other words, it was a trip or  a push, not a hold. AR2 is a couple yards behind the play and should be able to note the location. Unfortunately, the video does not display the follow-up mechanics of AR2 to see if he was using the flag to indicate a foul in the PA. If he did, then the referee team saw what the video did not and were correct in their mechanics. If Ar2 did not think the foul occurred inside the PA and communicated that to Toledo, then the AR has done his job. The Referee is responsible for the ultimate determination. If the AR is sure the foul occurred outside the area, then the AR must communicate that information to the Referee before the PK is taken. The lesson here: the number one responsibility of the AR is to not allow the restart to occur if he/she has information for the Referee. (Follow up: the AR indicated to the Referee that his view was obstructed by chasing defenders between him and the foul.)

Finally, we have an attacker on a breakaway, with only the keeper between him and the goal, nineteen yards out, close enough to the ball to begin his shot, and going towards goal when he is fouled by another defender with an offense that results in a free kick (a PK is a form of FK). These are the 4 Ds of DOGSO:

  1. Defenders to beat (no more than one plus the one committing the foul)
  2. Distance to goal (the closer, the more likely DOGSO)
  3. Distance to ball (the attacker who is in possesion of the ball is more likely DOGSO)
  4. Direction (the attacker must be moving at goal)

Toledo only issued a yellow card for this foul. While DC is happy it did not have to play half the match a man down, and Houston was happy to receive a PK, was it the right misconduct decision? Even the announcers recognized the elements of Denies an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity. This sequence represented a Critical Match Decision. Had the referee team decided to award a direct free kick nineteen yards out and send off Korb for DOGSO, the video evidence would seem to have supported it.

By the way, Houston missed the PK!..


About Dan Paolini

Soccer & Futsal Referee Assignor

Posted on March 4, 2013, in Lesson Posts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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