This is a query about a basic refereeing incident that I had hoped would be highlighted in your excellent Week in Review series (but unfortunately was not mentioned in Week 20).

I was one of the 26,000+ people at the Gillette Stadium watching the New England Revolution vs Los Angeles Galaxy match on Sat August 8 2009.

In the second half, an LA Galaxy player appeared to have an injury to his face region and went to ground but play continued. Eventually, with the ball still in play, the referee (Jorge Gonzalez) whistled for stoppage. But at the restart, another LA Galaxy player (David Beckham, no less) took a direct free kick. This was a bizarre incident. As referees well know, the proper restart should have been a drop ball. Also, the ball was not purposely kicked out at the touchline, otherwise the restart would have been a throw-in (which BTW was another refereeing incident that was excellently highlighted in your Week in Review – Week 15 item Injury Leading to a Throw-In: Law 15). I am puzzled by this bizarre incident.

Can you please officially reply to my query, and/or better still also post a constructive comment on your excellent US Soccer Referee website about this incident.

Please keep up the great work; your efforts are deeply appreciated not just domestically but also all around the world!

USSF answer (August 15, 2009):
We are happy to send along this explanation to our visitor. And thank you for the compliment on our website.

At 46:00, there are two back-to-back challenges in the center circle. In the first challenge, the Galaxy player goes down from a challenge the referee judges as fair. The ball then goes to Donovan, who is fouled, and the referee immediately and correctly calls the foul. There is some minimal and unintentional contact made with Donovan’s face and he holds it on the ground but gets up without complaining. However, the referee does everything correctly. He stops the game for a foul and restarts it with a Galaxy free kick as it was the Galaxy who were fouled.

This is the closest to the situation questioned and it is handled correctly by the match officials.

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