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WATCH: Rob Friend, Mauro Díaz give Oscar-worthy performances to earn Saturday penalties

Mar 9, 2014, 4:02 AM EDT

The LA Galaxy’s acquisition of former Canadian international Rob Friend had gone slightly under the radar during the preseason, but thanks to an Academy Award-worthy performance from the 33-year-old, the January acquisition will now be on most MLS fans’ radars. In the 92nd minutein Carson, with his team trying to pull back Joao Plata’s goal, the Bundesliga veteran did his best to draw a whistle on Real Salt Lake right back Tony Beltran. The result was a Lebron James-worthy flop that gave Robbie Keane a chance to equalize from the spot.

In the season’s first ‘ball don’t lie’ moment, Nick Rimando made a diving save at the base of his right post, preserving his team’s 1-0 win as well as mitigating the damage from Javier Santos’s bad call. Friend, however, still deserves some special recognition for his performance. Given only 17 minutes in his Major League Soccer debut, the striker could have easily faded into the turmoil that is the typical late-match chaos. Instead, summoning a performance that would make Matthew McConaughey blush, the former Borussia Mönchengladbach forward nearly earned a point for his new team.

Unfortunately, Robbie Keane couldn’t be his Jared Leto, but before we concede this award to Friend, let’s consider the exaggeration FC Dallas creator Mauro Díaz provides to Jed Brovsky’s tug in Frisco:

In both cases, replacement officials are likely to get scrutinized, if not outright blamed. But these are the types of calls even the best officials can mess up. Looking at the play from above the penalty area, the officials can’t see how much contact the defenders actually make with their marks.

In both cases, different angles showed that contact was minimal. Unfortunately for the officials, they had to pass judgement based on flawed views.

  1. talgrath - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:09 AM

    Before anyone blames the replacement refs, the fact of the matter is that MLS refs get the penalty calls wrong all the time, it’s the equivalent of flipping a coin on most occasions. The MLS referees lockout is a bad bit of publicity, but let’s not pretend that someone like Ricardo Salazar would get this one right.

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