Follow us:

Sounders FC

Daily coverage of Seattle Sounders FC, MLS and world soccer.

October 23, 2010 at 6:51 PM

About Steve Zakuani’s penalty kick that curiously wasn’t

In the 35th minute, a poor back-pass by a Dynamo player put Sounders FC’s Steve Zakuani in on goal — here’s a clip of the play on the league website. The speedy midfielder beat Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric to the ball and appeared to draw contact in an attempt to hurdle a late challenge.

Zakuani jumped a bit to avoid contact but was still taken down. As I saw referee Kevin Stott reach for his pocket I knew Deric was in danger of being sent off. Instead Stott shockingly gave a yellow card to Zakuani, apparently for diving.

In postgame, I asked Steve for his perspective of the play.

“I mean I think it’s a foul,” he said. “That’s the bottom line of it. I was kind of cheating a little bit and one of the defenders made a bad pass so I was onside. I just wanted to push it around the ‘keeper and score a goal. It’s a foul. I don’t think he killed me. He didn’t crush me so it didn’t look that bad. I’m trying to jump over him so I can get to the ball. I couldn’t do it and I fell over. I’m not going to dive there. I’m in on goal. It’s an open goal. He gives me a yellow card. I don’t know. For me, it’s a foul. There’s not much more I say about that. In most football I watch that’s a red card for the goalkeeper — he’s the last man. Over here I don’t know why I got a yellow card.”

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid saw it the similarly when I asked him about it.

“I think Zakuani went over him in turns of diving a bit,” Schmid said, “but if Zakuani keeps his legs on the ground maybe he ends up with a broken leg or a major injury. One of the things with refereeing is if you jump a tackle it’s no foul, so you have to leave your leg in there to get hurt or get injured for the ref to call a foul. If the guy makes a bad foul and I’m jumping over it, it’s still a foul because I’m trying to not get injured and I can’t keep the ball because he makes a reckless challenge. But sometimes the referee want you to keep your leg in there — so you get injured, get carried off the field and then they’ll give you a penalty. That’s not right.”

That craziest part of all of it, I thought, was the yellow card for simulation. That was absurd. Even if Stott thought there wasn’t enough for a penalty kick, surely Zakuani wasn’t intentionally trying to deceive anyone by going to the ground.

I asked Zakuani if that made things worse.

“Yeah, because I’m not trying to dive,” he said. “I’m trying to get out of his way so I can jump over him. I ended up losing my footing and fell, but he caused me to do it. I think either way it’s a foul. If you’re going at that speed and someone touches you a little bit, you lose your balance. It wasn’t the hardest hit but it was a foul.”

I agree. See for yourself…

Get Microsoft Silverlight


No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►