On Saturday night Sporting KC defeated the New York Red Bulls by a final of 2-0. Although both goals were very much against the run of play, the visitors took advantage of chances when the home side simply could not. The Red Bulls could have scored 4 or 5 goals this match, but were they lucky to have only lost by two?
In the 69' minute of play, Dom Dwyer may have been robbed of his most Dom Dwyer moment of the year.
Mike Grella sent in a high, testing ball towards Sporting KC's back line. Olum intervened and was just able to get a boot on it. Then Saad Abdul-Salaam was there to sweep up the danger and he launched a clearance down field. The ball went to NYRB centerback Chris Duvall. His first touch let him down and the pesky Dom Dwyer got the ball first, touched it towards goal, and was off to the races.
Take a look at the play:
However, the assistant referee raised his flag and called the play back. Dwyer was in absolute shock. The kind of shock where it was so bad you can't even really get that mad about it:
Let's get a quick refresh of the actual rule itself.
Offside position:It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.A player is in an offside position if:• he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponentA player is not in an offside position if:• he is in his own half of the field of play or• he is level with the second-last opponent or• he is level with the last two opponentsOffenceA player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:• interfering with play or• interfering with an opponent or• gaining an advantage by being in that position
Now the video does not definitively show it, but I am going to assume the referee was right in that when SAS played the ball, Dom was in an offside position. The issue here is with the touch from Duvall. A simple deflection from a defender does not reset anything. The referees must determine if a touch from a defender was intentional or not. If the referee decides it was, the play has reset and the attacking player is no longer offside.
So lets take a closer look at the touch:
I see no possible way that can be deemed a "deflection". Deflections are from point blank range, difficult to even see, and have no effort from the defender. This ball was played from the other side of the field. For me, it looks like Duvall was even aware of where Dom Dwyer was. He sticks out his boot and touches it away from Dom with the outside of his foot. But Dom was too quick and too strong, beating him to the ball anyway.
So yes, Dwyer was robbed.
That exact moment is why he works so hard for 90 minutes. He wears down a defense. He causes them to make nervous touches as he breaths down their throat.
But all that being said, this offside in particular was probably even more difficult to call than normal. He had to be looking at both back lines at the same time while also judging the touch from Duvall from all the way across the field. I can understand the difficulty, but I still feel as though the center referee Fotis Bazakos, who was in a better position, should have let play continue despite the flag being raised. Aren't referees told to give the benefit of the doubt to the attacking player?
But hey, who cares right? The boys got the shutout road victory against a very good team. And Dwyer did it all this game. Relentless hustle. Great hold up play. He passed the ball well and made chances for teammates. And he also created a goal for himself out of almost nothing.
He may be slightly behind pace to reach his goal of 30 goals this year, but Dom is firing on all cylinders right now.