Sunday, November 18, 2012

Seattle Sounders v LA Galaxy second leg...or arm?

Condolences to our Cascadian rivals in Seattle at the result of tonight's match against LA. The Sounders' effort was excellent and it was an exciting game up until the point that Robbie Keane's cross smacked into Johannsen's arm two thirds of the way into the match.  
I'm not a physicist but I'm guessing that any scientist tracking the movement of Seattle's defender in trying to position himself would have said that it was nigh impossible to move without using the arms as counterbalance.   And if that's the case,  what's the rationale for calling a PK for intentionally handling the ball.   

I don't know if FIFA or referees consider this issue at all but the mechanics of the human body in motion includes some inevitabilities.   Arms as balance points are among them.  We don't go through extreme physical articulations of our bodies with our arms at our sides.   Try it sometime.   It doesn't work.

This is not something that can't be tested and measured.   And I'm happy to hear that all of that has already happened and there's a clear standard as to when a player's body in motion is 'making (itself) bigger' as the referee attested and when the arm action is a byproduct of necessary balancing.

The impact on the match between Seattle and LA was immense and immediately palpable.  And there are many similar examples out there in which the game has been changed completely by a 'handball in the box' from a player who was in midair and whose trajectory took an arm into the play.   It's a sad way to have games unfold and a far cry from the call when a static player moves or raises an arm to block a play.

Football deserves a better standard.   One that's based on better understanding of the science of physical mechanics.   And Seattle deserved a better outcome than to drop a point in a key game on that score.