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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 11



Referee Week in Review – Week 11

The Situation: Colorado and New York are tied 0-0 in the 26th minute.

The Play: The attacking player from Colorado is fouled as he attempts to reach a cross from his teammate.

The Decision: The contact from the defender occurs outside the penalty area, but the attacker clearly lands inside the penalty area. The referee awards a penalty kick to Colorado. 

My Take: This is tough call for the referee. He must take into account the speed of play, the proximity to the penalty area and its potential impact on the game, but this infraction should result in a free kick, not a penalty kick. The contact between the defender and the attacker occurs outside of the penalty area and the free kick must be given from where the foul occurs. 

The Laws of the Game: Law 13 provides detail on the positioning of free kicks outside the area, noting the free kick is taken from the place where the infringement occurred.


The Situation: D.C. United leading Portland in the 64th minute of play. 

The Play: After a foul inside the D.C. penalty area, Portland is awarded a penalty kick. 

The Decision(s): The initial penalty kick attempt is saved, but the Assistant Referee signals to the official that the goalkeeper moved off his line prior to the kick being taken. Due to the goalkeeper’s movement, the referee signals for the penalty kick to be retaken. The second attempt is also saved, but again the Assistant Referee signals to the official that the goalkeeper moved off his line. The penalty kick is taken a third time and a goal is scored.

My Take: The Assistant Referee is properly placed to fulfill this duty, and each time alerts the referee to the goalkeeper’s early forward movement off the goal line.

The Laws of the Game: This is a good example of the Laws of the Game, being properly enforced. Law 14 states the defending goalkeeper must remain on his goal line until the ball has been kicked.  Furthermore, Law 6 outlines the duties of an Assistant Referee, which include indicating whether the goalkeeper has moved off the goal line during a penalty kick.

Michael Kennedy is a current MLS referee and has officiated in the league since its founding in 1996. In addition to serving as a professional referee, he has also represented U.S. Soccer as both a FIFA referee and assistant referee.

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