As part of MLSsoccer.com's Referee Week, we asked four-time MLS Referee of the Year Paul Tamberino, who currently serves as a director in the league's Competition Department, to review some controversial plays from throughout this season.
We start back in April when D.C. United's Charlie Davies drew a late penalty, allowing his team to snatch a point against the LA Galaxy...
This is an interesting play where the referee must make a decision if this is a foul or simulation. You need to ask yourself a few questions before you make your decision.
- What is the time of the game?
- What are the players’ intentions?
- What is the position of the referee?
- Does this contact warrant a penalty kick?
- Was this a case of simulation?
The time of the game is important as it is near the final whistle. Players that are looking to find the equalizer or the go-ahead goal will make every effort to score a goal at all costs.
What is the player’s intention? The attacking player knows that he needs the goal and the point. It is an excellent through ball, but a little out of reach to have a great shot. The defender's role is to make every effort to prevent the attacker from getting the shot off.
The referee’s position is critical in situations such as this. This referee is in excellent position to see the entire action. A referee should be running toward the play, have an angle of view and not be obstructed when making the decision.
The Law book states that a “direct free kick will be awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any of seven offenses in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or excessive force."
If the offense takes place in the penalty area, then a penalty kick must be awarded. One of the seven offenses is pushing. I believe we can rule out that the action is reckless or one with excessive force.
The question you must ask: Is this careless action that warrants a penalty?
The lawbook also states that a player must be cautioned when he “attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled (simulation)."
Although there is contact to the attacking player, the contact is not in a careless manner and therefore should not be considered a foul, and a penalty kick should not be awarded. On the question of simulation, the attacking player pretends to have been fouled and should be cautioned for simulation.