Week 3 in the MLS, Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United had a very strange goal for D.C. United. An attacking player, to the right of the goal keeper (3 yards away) in the penalty area, made direct movement towards the goalie as the goalie made progress towards taking a punt. (in replay- it is very clear that attacking player waited until the goalie started his kicking movement and then took forward movement towards the kicking foot)

This movement startled the goal tender, who dropped the ball on the top of the penalty area line. The attacking player kicked the ball into the net and the goal was awarded.

What constitutes a violation in this situation?

USSF answer (April 12, 2010):
Law 12 (Fouls and Misconduct), which governs this matter, tells us:
“An indirect free kick is . . . awarded to the opposing team if, in the opinion of the referee, a player prevents the goalkeeper from releasing the ball from his hands.” This interference can be either physical (not applicable in this incident) or psychological (which it was in this incident).

The referee should have blown the whistle immediately and awarded the indirect free kick to the goalkeeper’s team.

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