Penalty Controversy Surrounding the Seattle Sounders

The Seattle Sounders are at the center of controversy this week in the MLS  as they were called for an absurd penalty against the New England Revolution in their 2-1 loss.

The Seattle Sounders suffered their third straight loss on the year after they fell to the New England Revolution away from home. The Revolution won the match at a score of 2-1 with one of their goals stemming from a controversial penalty against Seattle. That fateful call from the referee changed the game.

Referee, Fotis Bazakos, called Seattle Sounders’ midfielder, Eric Friberg, for a handball inside the box. This led to a penalty shot for the Revolution. New England’s, Lee Nguyen, converted the penalty to even up the score at 1-1.

From the replay of the incident, you can clearly see that the ball does not come into contact with Friberg’s hand. The ball actually hits Eric straight in the stomach. He puts his hands up because the ball is coming right at him. It was tough for him to get out of the way of the ball. There was nothing that Friberg could do. The penalty decision was harsh.

Some may argue that the incident in question did not have a huge impact on the game. But it clearly did. The 2-1 result was directly impacted by the penalty call. If that was never awarded then the Seattle Sounders may have won the game. The Revolution may never have scored a goal that match.

Here is a video of the penalty:

When asked about the incident after the match, referee, Fotis Bazakos, said that “from my position, I observed Friberg’s arms raised away from his body. Then I observed his arm making contact with the ball.” The team has been unlucky with penalties so far this season. They have conceded six penalties in 12 games this year.

Regardless of the call, it was a harsh penalty to be called against the Seattle Sounders. The team must now move on past the game against New England and continue to look forward as they take on D.C United and the New York Red Bulls on the road. These next two away games will be crucial for the team.

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