The most incredible penalty shootout of all time? That was the reaction of many after Orlando City beat NYCFC 6-5 in a shootout that saw a goalkeeper sent off, a backup goalkeeper refused to be allowed on to replace him, a false victory celebration and so much more.
So what happened? The deeper, philosophical answer to that may take a long time to arrive, but we do have the official explanations for the main talking points of the shootout.
Pedro Gallese shown second yellow card
Under the 2020/21 IFAB laws of the game, a goalkeeper who encroaches (has no part of either foot on the line) is first given a warning and only then a yellow card for a second offense. However, the 2020 MLS season began before those changes went into effect and is still operating under the 2019/20 rules in which a goalkeeper receives a mandatory yellow card for the first instance of encroachment. Thus why Orlando's Pedro Gallese was shown a second yellow card and sent off by referee Allen Chapman after being booked in extratime for time-wasting.
Here's the full explanation from PRO:
"The second yellow card was for encroachment, in that he had moved forward from the goal line at the moment the kick was taken and had no part of either foot on, or in-line with, the goal line. This is a mandatory cautionable offense as per the 2019/20 Laws of the Game, which MLS 2020 season is working under for the entirety of regular and post-season (the 2020/21 Laws have amended this aspect of law to include a warning for a first offense, however because MLS 2020 started prior to the Law changes coming into effect in the Summer of 2020, we continue working to the initial version of the Laws of the Game for the full season, and will incorporate the change for the 2021 season)."
Why Orlando couldn't substitute on their backup goalkeeper
Confusion reigned as Orlando thought they could replace Gallese by making a substitution to bring on their reserve goalkeeper Brian Rowe, only to be told the change couldn't be made, meaning defender Rodrigo Schlegel took the gloves. Here's the official explanation, again per PRO:
"Goalkeepers who are sent off during kicks from the penalty mark can only be replaced by an eligible player i.e a player who is on the field of play (or temporarily off it due to adjusting equipment, injury treatment etc.) at the end of extra-time. Orlando reserve goalkeeper Brian Rowe was not an eligible player."
It all worked out in the end for Orlando as Schlegel saved the attempt from Gudmundur Thorarinsson to give the Florida side their first-ever playoff victory and one that neither they, nor anyone else, will ever forget.