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Please grant a little grace seeing in how this is my first foray into blogging about any sport.

In the US Soccer world, the summer of 2012 may well be remembered as one in which games – including a significant one in particular – were influenced by the enforcement of obscure rules.  The biggie was the call against the Canadian’s GK for violating the 6 second rule in the Olympic semi-final match between the US Women’s National Team and the Canadian Women’s Nats.

This past week much e-ink has been spilt by journos and bloggers about the referee, Mark Geiger, enforcing another obscure rule.  As DCU’s De Rosario scored on a penalty kick, Geiger called encroachment against a DCU for a player entering the semi-circle at the top of the penalty box.

See the video here: De Rosario PK called back

The rule was enforced because a DCU player encroached. Peter Welton, PRO General Manager (Head of the Referees for MLS), said on ExtraTime Radio that had the Union keeper saved the initial PK, the kick would not have been retaken. Since the initial PK was scored but an infraction was committed, both by DCU, the referee played the advantage to the Union and enforced the encroachment resulting in another DCU penalty kick.

Listening to Peter Welton on the ExtraTime Radio podcast, my immediate thoughts were of the FC Dallas verse Chicago Fire match in May. In this game, the Fire were correctly awarded a penalty. Grazzini’s PK was saved by Kevin Hartman, but an encroaching player, Marco Pappa scored on the rebound.

See the video here: Pappa puts back PK save

In this case, if Peter Welton is to be understood, the advantage should have been played to FC Dallas and the encroachment should have been enforced, resulting in a call against Pappa for encroachment. Seemingly, then, because the advantage should be played against Chicago, it would not have resulted in a PK re-take for the Fire. Also, if I understand Peter Welton correctly, FCD would have one point out of the match instead of zero.

One point may not sound like much, but in light of the tight race for the playoffs one point can make all the differene. Don’t believe me? One point kept FC Dallas out of the playoffs in 2009.

A word about enforcing obscure rules:

In the aforementioned cases, both Canadian soccer fans and DCU fans are crying foul that an obscure rule was enforced. This complaint seems as flimsy as a Break Shea mohawk. That a rule was enforced is not a solid foundation of complaint.

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