In case you missed it, the most talked about refereeing decision of the Major League Soccer weekend came in the 39th minute of Sunday's 1-1 draw between Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo, and in the end, the correct call was made.
Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis raced into Sporting's penalty area with the ball at his feet, and looked poised to shoot on Jimmy Nielsen's goal. But he was suddenly cut off just before the penalty spot by Sporting midfielder Uri Rosell, who thought he had made an inch-perfect tackle. Referee Drew Fischer pointed immediately to the spot, though, and awarded Houston a penalty kick.
Rosell and his Sporting teammates were beside themselves. Fischer was initially unmoved by Sporting's pleas to reverse the decision, but after an assistant referee with a clear view of the play summoned him for a short conference, Fischer decided to annul his original call and award possession of the ball to Sporting.
The Professional Referees Organization (PRO) has come out in the days since Sunday's game and publicly backed Fischer not only for getting the call right in the end, but also for the manner in which he conducted himself and used all resources available to him — in this instance, the vantage point of his assistant — to overturn his own initial call, which replays indicate was in fact, incorrect.
“His team of match officials immediately informed him that he was incorrect. Instead of immediately changing his decision, which would have lacked credibility, Drew wisely decided to have face-to-face dialogue with his nearest AR, Kevin Duliba.
“This was done for various reasons, but mainly to give himself that valuable thinking time, to allow the players to calm down, and also to gauge how confident Kevin was with his thoughts. It was important at this stage that Kevin was positive and decisive when providing Drew with advice."
What did you think of Fischer's decision to overturn the penalty call? Would you like to see more MLS officials converse with assistants in the way Fischer and Duliba did?