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Morning Kickaround

*Dallas grabbed a 1-1 tie with San Jose last night at the House of Pizza on a controversial call that both referee Abby Okulaja and ESPN seemed to mishandle (pun intended).

In the waning moments, with the Quakes clinging to the lead, Okulaja awarded FCD a penalty kick, ruling that Eric Avila's cross struck San Jose's Francisco Lima on the arm or hand. The announcers made issue of whether the ball played the man or the man played the ball. However, after reviewing the replay, it appeared the ball made contact with Lima's mid-section and had not touched his arm or hand at all -- a possibility that, as I recall, was never addressed. Perhaps another angle would have provided a more definitive answer. Click here for the video. What did you think?

*El Salvador's national team, which is nearing a berth in the final round of CONCACAF's World Cup qualifying, is close to finalizing a deal to play a friendly against Bolivia on Oct. 22 at RFK Stadium, the Insider was told last night. Final details are still being worked out. El Salvador has already made three appearances in Washington in 2008 (vs. Anguilla, Guatemala and T&T). Bolivia lost to Guatemala at RFK in August.

*Howard vs. Onyewu. Advantage, Gooch. Standard Liege knocks off Everton in the UEFA Cup, winning 2-1 in the second leg in Belgium following a 2-2 tie in the opener. Read about it in the Liverpool Echo.

*The USL1 semifinals get underway tonight with three foreign clubs (Montreal, Vancouver and Puerto Rico) joining Rochester.

*River Plate 2, Defensor 1 in Copa Sudamericana, with Chivas its next opponent:


Anything else you'd like to discuss?

By Steve Goff  |  October 3, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF , U.S. men's national team , USL  
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Comments

I watched the last few minutes of the DAL-SJ game after coming home from a night of Caps STH fun and it didn't look like Lima touched it to me. Aren't/wouldn't the linesman be in a better spot and could have told Abby?

Oh yeah, I forgot, Abby was the ref.

Posted by: Section 130 | October 3, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Abby never lets the facts get in the way of a game-changing call.

Posted by: griffin1108 | October 3, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Montreal and Vancouver in the USL semis? We're building the wall on the wrong border.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 3, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the analysis but I did check with my AR who had a pretty good view of it and he agreed with the penalty call. ESPN should have had better camera angles and shown it more often.

Go Dallas!!!

Posted by: Abby | October 3, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

"*The USL1 semifinals get underway tonight with three foreign clubs (Montreal, Vancouver and Puerto Rico) joining Rochester."

Clearly the US USL Clubs are the ones we typically think of when we say "USL Quality".

The foreign ones hold their own.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 3, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Poor USL teams...fixture congestion...

So Dallas announced attendance at 7100 -- and we all know they inflate their numbers.

Posted by: RK | October 3, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Re: Handball. Stuff happens. They way Lima's arm went up is consistent with a handball. But stuff happens. Remember the bad handball call for PK against Berhalter in a WCQ match in Central America? Remember the no call on a Clint Mathis handball in a WCQ match that resulted in a goal? Stuff happens, but in the long run it evens out. Of course, my disinterest may lie in the fact that DC United was not involved.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 3, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

It did not look like a handball to me but I only saw the replay. I had walked away from the TV for a moment since the game was so boring. My first thought was that it was a make up call for the ref. I thought Cunningham should have been awarded a PK when he was pulled down by Riley.

Posted by: Randy | October 3, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Goff, that's exactly what I thought while watching the broadcast - Harkes was going on about the thought that the ball played him so it shouldn't be a penalty, and I was thinking, it just hit him in the side...I'm used to Marcelo Balboa continuing to claim something that wasn't there. I'm all confused now.

I do think it was poetic justice for FCD, considering the fact that Okulaja missed the blatant penalty on Cunningham earlier in the match. The end result was definitely fair for both teams. Dallas owned the first half, San Jose had the better of the second half.

Posted by: zilla | October 3, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

From a DCU perspective, the draw was the best possible outcome last night for Dallas-SJ. Both teams are in direct competition with us for the last playoff spot, and they both dropped points last night. If we win against Chivas, we will be back in the playoffs with three matches to go.

Posted by: J | October 3, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Are we going to have a discussion of whether Puerto Rico is a "foreign" place, to go along with our earlier discussion of what constitutes a tropical rainforest?

Posted by: The Jeff | October 3, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Cunningham earned a penalty earlier that wasn't called. Those two bad calls evened out. Davino should have been sent off for his handball, though. I hope MLS retroactively suspends him for the next game.

Posted by: Steve | October 3, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

BB has asked for permission to release Jozy (remember last time, he asked, but didn't take him).

Posted by: RK | October 3, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

No mention of the Red Card Davino should have been given for his obviously cheating handball?

Posted by: dadryan | October 3, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I can see from the initial replay, at game speed, why the ref called the penalty. The defender's movement of the arm and the abrupt change of direction of the ball made it appear that the arm was steering the ball. But several folks have noted, correctly, that the Assistant Ref was perfectly positioned to see the play, and was not consulted. I didn't see the AR make any gesture or flag signal indicating handling, but the video was pretty blurry, and I don't know if MLS, or this ref, encourages the ARs to signal on calls like this. Ref should have consulted with the AR if he had any doubt.

Posted by: macheath | October 3, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Transcript of Joe Kinnear's... umm... press conference. Not suitable for children.

Steve, do you ever wish that the DC United press conferences were like this?

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=578459&sec=england&cc=5901

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 3, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Montreal and Vancouver in the USL semis? We're building the wall on the wrong border.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 3, 2008 8:50 AM
-------------------------------------------
Interstate Two hundred seventy (trying to the impossible--be less nerdy by not abbreviating the obvious as not to disdaing the tragically hip here on the board): That was good one.

And big ups for the heads up and like about General Clarke and my belvoed Puerto Rico Islanders yesterday.

Posted by: yankiboy | October 3, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Clearly the US USL Clubs are the ones we typically think of when we say "USL Quality".

The foreign ones hold their own.


Posted by: Anonymous | October 3, 2008 8:59 AM
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Charleston and Seattle did very well during US Open cup play and took out several USL sides. The Battery didn't embarrass themselves in the Championship match against out United.

Having said that, Seattle is bolting for MLS...

Posted by: yankiboy | October 3, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Are we going to have a discussion of whether Puerto Rico is a "foreign" place, to go along with our earlier discussion of what constitutes a tropical rainforest?

Posted by: The Jeff | October 3, 2008 9:15 AM
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Jeffster-Please let's not. Then my boy Felix and I will have to argue about the status. Which we can always do over the phone or via email. The subject alone is one that my wife's relatives at the dinner table and many of my fellow Islanders supporters avoid because the disagreements get really, really bitter (I'm talking about people actually not liking each other over the difference of opinion--I still like Felix though. He's "Da Man")

So let's just keep it light and leave it at the fact Puerto Rico has a different FA and street signs there are overwhelmingly not in English...

So that Felix and I don't get into another punchup coz I like hangin with my boy when I rarely get down to see my Islanders play home games... :D

Posted by: yankiboy | October 3, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

yankiboy you may have just scrambled the *old* folks brains...

Posted by: dadryan | October 3, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

It will be curious to see which lineups Puerto Rico and Montreal use tonight. Their opponents will have rested since Sunday. Islanders and Impact both had to fly to Central America for two tough matched. If memory serves me right, Montreal had to really bust thier hump to get make it part there quarterfinal tie with Seattle (quality club and MLS side killer). Obviously the fixture congestion has been a real challenege for both clubs. And supporters.

I know for a fact that the USL1 championship is very, very important to Islanders ownership and management. But so is Champions League. Both coaches are going to have to continue to juggle and demonstrate something that both clubs have to this point: their roster depth.

Posted by: yankiboy | October 3, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

yankiboy you may have just scrambled the *old* folks brains...

Posted by: dadryan | October 3, 2008 10:06 AM
-------------------------------------------
That's ok DAD, coz your pockets will still be like CP's-"straight".

Besides, I am old dude myself.

Posted by: yankiboy | October 3, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I stay medium. Old enough to know better, too young to quit playing video games.

Posted by: dadryan | October 3, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Ho can Okulaja keep getting games to ruin?

Posted by: Matt | October 3, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Okulaja is a disaster - that guy needs to take a leave of absence. He missed a red card hand ball on Duilio Davino that totally changed the game for SJ.

It's not the first time this season that he's done a poor job making crucial decisions in a game.

Posted by: Eugene | October 3, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Goff-

Does D.C. United participate in hosting these International matches? What I'm wondering is if they make any money off of these events.

Posted by: Eric in Baltimore | October 3, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

@ yankiboy

you're old..get out of here lol

its good that ES is coming to play here at DC.
Should be a good game besides who wouldnt want to see crowd at the game. Granted it will be more Blue & White.

Im glad ES is playing here and not LA.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | October 3, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Puerto Rico is one of those foreign countries (like Hawaii) that, for some odd reason, still accept the American dollar as its currency.

They also let you fly into the country from Miami without seeing your passport or filling out an immigration/customs entry form. How crazy is that?

And, if you squint your eyes just right you can see it from the US Virgin Islands--making it one of the few countries Palin could see from US soil.

Posted by: Shining Star | October 3, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Based on what I've seen at RFK over the last few years, Okulaja is consistently the worst referee in MLS -- he makes bad calls, frustrates and loses control of players, and gives a high number of cards. MLS needs to do a better job reviewing performance and competence.

Posted by: oz4dcu | October 3, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

MLS refs (south americans too) continue to stink and make horrible calls. They just don't have the quality. Of course not surprising so much when EPL refs can't pass beyond this level and demand for respect. Respect should be earned by doing a great job, not by threatening and stunk on the pitch.
It was not a handball but clearly red card offense was not given on the other end.
The only good refs I have seen so far is at the Bundes Liga. Laliga is the second.

Posted by: td | October 3, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

And, if you squint your eyes just right you can see it from the US Virgin Islands--making it one of the few countries Palin could see from US soil.

Posted by: Shining Star | October 3, 2008 11:07 AM
===================

When John McCain and I are in the White House, all States will follow the Virgin Islands' method of abstinence as the only proven method of birth control.

Posted by: Sarah Palin | October 3, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

You mean when you are dead in a alaska frozen pond?

Posted by: what | October 3, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

If you are evaluating referees, I think you might give Okulaja a pass on the penalty. It happened fast, Lima has two arms, whatever.

The biggest gaffe was not sending Davino off. That was the most blatant, deliberate denial of goal scoring opportunity I have seen this year.

Posted by: Lee | October 3, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

270:

Beat me to the punch on that Joe Kinnear link. Makes for delightful reading. You've got to love the press officer's futile attempts to keep things calm.

Lee:

Agreed. The Davino handball was as easy a crucial call as you get to make at any level.

Like I said on the previous post from SG late last night, I think MLS should do something to either refuse US Soccer's attempts to appoint him for any game or at least ensure Okulaja does not work nationally televised games. Amongst the consistently sub-par group of officials MLS has access to, he's always the worst. He makes Noel Kenny (remember him?) look decent.

On the plus side, as J mentioned, the draw was the best result for DC.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | October 3, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I've seen Landon try to hand the ball to himself this year.
Is preventing an opponents goal worse than trying to lay the ball at your feet to score?

Posted by: dadryan | October 3, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

What is the reasoning behind so many CONCACAF teams playing their national team games in the U.S.? Is it a lack of fields down in some of these nations? Is it financial?

Posted by: elopingcamel | October 3, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The Rhinos are in the semis? Really? They got off to such a horrible start... Good for them! I was impressed by their fans that bussed it down to Germantown -- they deserve a reward. I have to say that I'm surprised, though. The team that took in DCU was not in the same class as Charleston, though they did hang in there against our boys. If not for Burch's mad free kick skills (whatever happened to them?, who knows how that game might've turned out....

Posted by: Fisch Fry | October 3, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

In defense of Okulaja, Lima's arm was moving along the same plane as the ball. In fact, Lima was trying to pull his arm back, out of the way of the ball. Still, I can see how the ref, if not in the right position to see that, could have missed the call.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | October 3, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

What is the reasoning behind so many CONCACAF teams playing their national team games in the U.S.? Is it a lack of fields down in some of these nations? Is it financial?

Posted by: elopingcamel | October 3, 2008 1:28 PM
--------------------------------------------

There are lots of Salvadoreans and Bolivians in this area. They earn good coin, much of which they send back to families down south. However, they've got the money to spend on a friendly here. It's a nice thing to do for them, given what they do for the economy back home -- and they can bring in good money for the national futbol associations -- ticket sales, jerseys sold, etc...

Ecuador and Colombia like to play in NY/NJ area for similar reasons. And, the Mexican team is a draw wherever they play in the US.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | October 3, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks. I've always wondered about that.

Posted by: elopingcamel | October 3, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Abby Okulaja has got to be the absolute worst ref in the western hemisphere. The guy is an absolute joke.

Always makes the wrong call on blatent and obvious fouls, then makes horrible, obvious mistakes on the make up calls.

One question I have. Why dont we have a similar set up as does the EPL, with the headsets, so the linesmen, ref and 4th official can communicate with each other?

Another question is, can I be a ref for MLS?

You'd be correct in thinking that whenever I reffed a game for DC that they would win! ;)

Posted by: dogboy | October 3, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

It was clear even in real time from the ESPN coverage that the ball didn't hit his hand or his arm, but this is just another example of horrible calls made in MLS matches. The shame is that this impacts the playoff chances of a number of teams around the league.

Posted by: f4denz | October 3, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Goff, ESPN, People...Under the laws of soccer you cannot deliberately play the ball with your hand. Let me say that again: You cannot intentionally play the ball with your hand.

Any conversation about the ball playing the hand or the hand playing the ball is misguided. The hand can play the ball. Just not intentionally. If the player, with a desire or in acting with a substantial certainty, uses his hand in a way to contact the ball, it is a foul.

Of course, this is all irrelevant. The ball didn't hit the players hand at all.

I expect this mistake from MLS officials, but I hold you bloggers and bloggees to a higher standard.


Posted by: Beloved Cartoon Mouse | October 3, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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