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.