In case you live in a cave without WiFi and don't know what I am talking about on Saturday night the Dynamo played against Sporting Kansas City. The score was 3-2 and Sporting had the ball inside the box and the ball went off Jermaine Taylor. The referee called a handball on Taylor. The penalty was converted by SKC for a goal. The decision also lead in large part to the six minutes of stoppage time during which Houston scored followed by a Sporting goal and the game ended 4-4.
Since Kevin Stott called Taylor for a handball that means that without question it was a handball right? Not so fast. A rule as simple as don't touch the ball with your hands isn't actually that simple. There is also the player's intent and the need for a referee who has better vision than the three blind mice.
What defines a handball?
According to FIFA a handball is when a player "handles the ball deliberately (except for a goalkeeper within his own area)". Sounds simple right? Well according to an article on the PRO (Professional Referee Organization) website more goes into it than that. Paul Rejer the PRO Training and Development Manger discusses what makes a handball in more detail-
"There are always a lot of appeals for handball PKs from players, fans and coaches as there is generally a misconception that the ball only has to contact or hit the arm or hand and it is a handball offense.
"However, the main criteria in the law is that it has to be deliberate. Judging anything deliberate usually means reading players' minds but the Laws of the Game offer guidelines for the referees' consideration, namely;
1. The proximity of the offending player when the ball is struck
2. The movement of the hand or arm towards the ball or away from the ball to prevent a handball offense occurring
3. Consideration of the hand or arm in the unnatural position
4. Whether the player uses his hands or arms to make himself bigger"
But was this a handball?
Let's start with a gif of said event.
Well, this is embarrassing. Not even close to a penalty. pic.twitter.com/N8oBGkIsEw— Jeremiah Oshan (@JeremiahOshan) April 26, 2015
And some screen grabs of the 'handball'.
@MLS @thesoccerdon Hand behind his back. Ball to the chest. Horrible call. #HOUvSKC pic.twitter.com/fnjhS51MF4— James Cooke (@RealJamesCooke) April 26, 2015
The handball that never was.....@ChronDynamoDash @@HoustonDynamo @MLS #HOUvSKC #ForeverOrange pic.twitter.com/43Q7x5lSOu— Lou Roesch (@sportsguy409) April 26, 2015
But hey maybe Kev had a different angle and couldn't really see what happened with the play. Right?
In Stott’s defense, he didn’t have a clear line of sight or anything… pic.twitter.com/5lonEveUrT— Jeremiah Oshan (@JeremiahOshan) April 26, 2015
Oh well maybe after the game he repented for his major screw up.
Official response from the red in regards to penalty call. pic.twitter.com/45dYKs82bN— ChronDynamo-Dash (@ChronDynamoDash) April 26, 2015
So totally legit or totally wack?
I try really hard not to criticize referees too much. After all they are human (at least I assume they are). They can't see everything on the field and as humans they are bound to make mistakes. However, there is no way to defend Kevin Stott's red card on Jermaine Taylor Saturday night.
The next test will be to see if MLS will rescind the red card. If they don't then Houston will be without the center back for their game on Friday against hated rival FC Dallas.
Update Wednesday, April 29
Taylor's red card has been rescinded and he will be available to play on Friday against FC Dallas.