clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

PRO offers interesting explanations for Tim Melia’s yellow card

New, 124 comments

Even The Rock — yes him — thought it was a red card.

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Seattle Sounders FC Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

One of the truisms in soccer is that goalkeepers are given far more latitude on fouls than outfield players. Still, there’s a line that even they aren’t allowed to cross. One would assume that body-slamming your opponent would be well on one side of that line.

Apparently not.

Tim Melia executed a body-slam on Cristian Roldan with such form that even The Rock was impressed, but managed to be shown only a yellow card in Saturday’s game.

Given a chance to explain the decision later in the evening, PRO offered this:

“Melia was cautioned for what the match officials deemed to be a reckless act when he wrapped his arm around Roldan’s chest and pulled him back out of the way as he attempted to reach the ball. The officials deemed the pulling action fell short of having excessive force or brutality. Melia had already been fouled by Roldan and the referee penalized that offense. The game was re-started with a direct free kick to SKC.”

This explanation seems to be talking about a different play. Not only does it describe Melia’s move as a “pulling action” but it also suggests that he’s attempting to play the ball. It’s certainly fair to say that Roldan was the one who first initiated contact and it’s even defensible to suggest he was unfairly impeding Melia. But by the time Melia starts to pull on Roldan, the ball has already been cleared. He’s not playing the ball, he’s trying to send a message. It looks to me like Melia was simply frustrated and momentarily lost it.

Here’s what IFAB has said about what qualifies as a potential red-card offense:

“A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.”

“Brutality” seems to be pretty subjective, but it seems pretty obvious that Melia’s body-slam constitutes “excessive force” and “endangers the safety of an opponent,” especially when you consider how close Roldan came to hitting the goal post.

Not to make too much of this, but it also seems to set a precedent that goalkeepers are free to act out however they want as long as it’s after the play has been blown dead.

Suffice it to say, I don’t think that’s the message that they’re hoping to send. One way to make sure that’s the case is for the MLS Disciplinary Committee to step in and suspend Melia.