Much of the conversation surrounding the deciding goal in the Seattle Sounders' 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake was focused on Jameson Olave's challenge of goalkeeper Tyler Miller. Did Olave unfairly use his arm to gain leverage and head the cross into the goal?
Instant Replay's Brian Dunseth didn't think so, pointing out that Olave tracked the ball the whole time and was unaware of Miller's position. Honestly, I'm not sure how much it matters what Olave's intent was, but he did have a right to challenge for the ball and it's on Miller to go up stronger than he did.
But what was a bit more interesting was Dunseth's examination of the foul that precipitated to the free kick and led to the deciding play.
Although Alonso clearly makes contact with Sunny Obayan, Dunseth is of the mind that it was more a dive than a foul. Dunseth argues that Obayan leaves his plant foot in precisely to draw contact and it's hard to miss that the midfielder made the most of the challenge, doing everything short of putting his hands over his head and literally diving into the turf. He made so much of it, in fact, that many refs will wave off the foul on principal.
Regardless of whether or not it was actually a foul, it's easy to second-guess Alonso's decision to go for the tackle. though. If he just lets Obayan run to the ball, Alonso is in prime position to defend in an area of the field that shouldn't pose much danger.
But that's also the kind of play we've grown accustomed to Alonso making, only in his prime he'd have won the challenge and started a potential game-winning counter. Of course, Alonso isn't quite that player right now and he probably needs to adjust accordingly.