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The big decision in Houston: was Dynamo’s Kofi Sarkodie offside or not? (Video)

Nov 10, 2013, 4:28 PM EDT

Most everyone who watched as Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo wrestled their weary selves to scoreless stalemate Saturday in Texas will agree that the game was a dog.

Real scoring chances were all but non-existent as two teams on rubbery legs played it thus: one parts physical, one parts tactically cautious. The result was small stew, just six total shots on target.

(MORE: What we learned from Saturday’s scoreless draw)

But what might have happened had Kofi Sarkodie, Houston’s right back who had been put through so cleverly by Omar Cummings, scored on that first-half opportunity – a first-half opportunity that wasn’t, that is?

Because game officials ruled Sarkodie offside. Was he? (The moment in question is at the 1:50 mark.)



Here is what Houston manager Dominic Kinnear had to say: “That’s a close one, it’s really, really close. In fast play the referee sees it one way, could he be onside, could he be off; it’s a bit of a coin flip. That’s the way it goes”.

Sarkodie and Cummings talked about how it might have opened up the match here:


  1. joeyt360 - Nov 10, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    It’s a shame, as you’re looking at the best attacking sequence of the game–and it looks to me like he’s even, and the AR’s making the call out of fear.

    But I think it’s a stretch to say it changes the rest of the game. KC has another 90 coming up at home to use, so do they ‘have to come at us’ as Sarkodie has it? No way. And Houston, if anything, would have even more reason to ‘sit on’ a 1-0 lead. So you might see slightly more action in Houston’s end (the balance of the game was played in KC’s as it was) after that, but not much.

  2. talgrath - Nov 10, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    To me it looks pretty clear, he’s offsides.

    • joeyt360 - Nov 10, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      I don’t think it’s so clear. At 2:07, they freeze it. You look at Sarkodie’s front foot versus the back foot of KC’s #7 (Myers), they look even to me.

      • talgrath - Nov 11, 2013 at 12:22 AM

        Except it isn’t about where your foot is, if any part of your body crosses the line, you are offsides.

  3. bmars1 - Nov 10, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    Unfortunately, it looks to me like the broadcast folks did what I see them do too often when they freeze- frame on offside replays: they freeze the action when the foot of the player making the pass is first making contact with the ball, not when the ball is leaving his foot, with space just starting to show between foot and ball. It does make a difference.

    I’ve seen Mexican League broadcasts where they slowly roll the action forward and back, so you see the ball coming off the foot and the player positions as the ball leaves the foot. I wish our broadcasters would use the same approach.

  4. geojock - Nov 11, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    It is close enough that you cant call it a ‘bad’ call.
    We really should be talking about Collins two handed shove off the ball or his reckless challenge that should have earned him a yellow.

  5. gamebreaker04 - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    SKC Fan here. He was onside. Besler moved up a hair too late, tie goes to the runner (even thought that rule does not exist in soccer).

    With that said, while the result of that play changing would have changed the game, it shouldn’t have changed what either side was trying to accomplish the rest of the day.

    Great game, glad SKC finally learned and played for conservatively on the road.

    Love how Houston plays SKC. Go ahead, push your outside backs up, we’ll slide a forward right into that space every time. Houston plays right into our biggest weakness, counter attacks on a spread out back line.

  6. chadmoon1 - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    It was offside. The right side of his body was beyond the next to last defender. That is where he recieved the ball, therefore he is off.

  7. donjuego - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Houston fan here and I see it as off. Doesn’t matter though. AR ruled. I accept that.

    What was incredible and definetly favored SKC was Stodt forgetting his cards at home. Half of SKC’s team was on yellows after brutalizing New England. Collin had at least two flat out yellow card fouls.

    Houston deserved an advantage in that game from their far lower number of yellows and Stodt favored SKC with his approach to the game.

    Shame that the pundits and media want to talk about a simple not really controversial offside call rather than expose the assistance MLS gave SKC.

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