At some point, we were going to have to talk about it. Might as well have the discussion about the red card now.
For starters, props to Alejandro Bedoya for finding Cory Burke on a beautiful long ball that gave Burke the opportunity to battle it out at the Fire’s 18-yard line. From there, let’s break down the confusion that resulted in a DOGSO and ejection for Chicago’s Wyatt Omsberg, leading to Kai Wagner’s point-earning goal.
There’s been plenty of controversy in the hours following the foul. Chicago called the foul “very soft,” while Jim Curtin says it’s a deserved red. Some have argued the offense was actually against Burke, that no foul occurred at all, or questioned whether or not the foul occurred inside the box. The Chicago Fire is reportedly appealing the red.
At the end of the day though, Referee Michael Radchuk made the right call in ejecting Omsberg and awarding the foul just outside of the box; let’s look at why.
Initially, Omsberg seemed to beat Burke to the long ball from Bedoya, getting a head on it to the keeper. Unfortunately for Omsberg, he didn’t put enough on the ball, and Burke successfully got around him to reach the ball well before Shuttleworth could. Some have argued that Burke pulled down Omsberg as he went around him, but Burke’s contact isn’t enough to make Omsberg go down, and no foul is warranted there.
As Omsberg goes down, his left knee makes contact with Burke’s right leg. There isn’t a lot of contact there, but it’s enough to trip up Burke, and that’s all that’s needed. The Union forward tries to stay up and go around Shuttleworth, but goes down all the same.
Burke isn’t flopping there either. He’s got a perfect opportunity to stay up and beat Shuttleworth, and quite honestly, he probably would’ve, so he doesn’t have a whole lot of incentive to simulate. You can also see him try to play on, but he simply can’t stay on his feet.
So now we’ve established that Omsberg tripped and fouled Burke. Outside of Shuttleworth, Omsberg is the last line of defense by far, and in this situation, Shuttleworth doesn’t count as a defender. Burke has plenty of opportunity to beat Shuttleworth, either with a strong shot or a quick dribble. Burke has a clear chance to find the back of the net here if he doesn’t go down. It doesn’t matter how weak the foul was in this situation, Omsberg taking down Burke is a DOGSO. And since Omsberg isn’t making a play for the ball, it doesn’t matter if the foul is inside the box or not, this offense is a straight red card
So we’ve established that there’s a foul and a red card against Omsberg. Now, where does the foul occur?
I’ll admit, I’m still not 100% sure on this one, but I’m about as sure as I’ll get. As a reminder, the spot of the kick is where the foul occurs, not where the ball or the player is. This shot is the best image I could get out of the replays that I’ve found. During this frame, contact hasn’t yet occurred, but it’s clear that it soon will within a fraction of a second.
Omsberg’s knee makes contact with Burke’s lower leg/foot, which appears to be just outside of the box. The foul is at most just inches outside of the box, but all the same, it’s easier to say that the offense is outside of the box rather than inside.
There it is, the three steps necessary to award the Union a foul outside of the box, and a red card to Wyatt Omsberg. It may be more fun to yell and shout at the referee but folks, they got this one right.