You Make the Call: Red Bulls vs. City Islanders

USOC: You Make the Call

Nothing can change the final outcome of Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup match against the Harrisburg City Islanders, but one incident may have provided an opportunity for the Red Bulls to reverse the result.

Down 2-1 in the second half of extra time, the Red Bulls offense was unleashing a relentless attack in Harrisburg’s end. Dax McCarty fired one on goal that was kept down by Harrisburg’s goalkeeper Nick Noble, who minutes later stopped a point blank shot from Kenny Cooper. There’s no denying Noble was standing on top of his head to keep the City Islanders in possession of the lead, and that was evident in his ability to make some tremendous saves. But he wasn't the only one taking matters into his own...hands.

Inside the eighth minute, Brandon Barklage unleashed a cross that worked its way into the box, likely somewhere into the vicinity of Markus Holgersson, who seemed primed to send a header on goal. As the cross dipped in, Harrisburg’s Jason Pelletier leaped into the air, put his hand up and tipped the ball out of play to limit New York’s chance on goal.


Pelletier is not the goalkeeper.

According to FIFA.com’s Laws of the Game:

There are circumstances when a caution for unsporting behaviour is required

when a player deliberately handles the ball, e.g. when a player:

• deliberately and blatantly handles the ball to prevent an opponent gaining


• attempts to score a goal by deliberately handling the ball

A player is sent off, however, if he prevents a goal or an obvious goalscoring

opportunity by deliberately handling the ball. This punishment arises not from

the act of the player deliberately handling the ball but from the unacceptable

and unfair intervention that prevented a goal being scored.

Let’s stop there.

We’ve given you a video of the play, a description of the play and the rules as laid out by FIFA. How would you rule the play through your eyes?

You make the call in the comments below.