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Did Sounders get a bit lucky on dueling penalties?

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Nouhou encroached on both attempts but wasn’t called, but Ruidíaz probably deserved two penalties going the other way.

Let’s be clear about one thing right off the bat: The Seattle Sounders earned all three of the points they claimed in Portland on Sunday. After a lackluster first half and an iffy start to the second, they dominated chances for the final 30 minutes or so and never gave the Timbers any particularly good looks from the run of play.

Still, there’s a lot of understandable conversation swirling around the two penalties that were called nearly back-to-back between the 55th and 61st minutes.

MLSsoccer.com’s Instant Replay does a fine job recapping the controversy in the video above. But the short version is this: Even if Stefan Frei was still on his line during Diego Valeri’s first attempt (which seems to be the case), Nouhou definitely encroached, and he encroached again on the second attempt but wasn’t called. I’m not inclined to be too upset about that since he wasn’t involved in the second play in any way, and “trifling” offenses are regularly overlooked.

Before the dust had completely settled around that sequence, the Sounders were awarded a penalty of their own when Raúl Ruidíaz was taken down in the box. Although the penalty was apparently called on goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, replays show that it could have just as easily been called on Bill Tuiloma as part of the same sequence of events. For me, there’s not a particularly compelling argument that the penalty was incorrectly awarded.

What wasn’t discussed in the video were two other plays that were just as close and consequential. The first was a second penalty shout for Ruidíaz, who was taken down in the box when trying to put away a rebound off a Fredy Montero shot. Ruidíaz was first to the rebound and Tuiloma did block the shot, but went through Ruidíaz in order to do it.

The second play in question was Ruidíaz’s disallowed goal a few minutes later. There was not a particularly good angle shown on the broadcast, but the offside call was at least close enough that I suspect it would not have been overturned if it had been judged onside in the run of play (it’s also worth watching again for the finish).

So, sure, the Timbers can maybe argue that they were a little hard-done on the penalty (that they had already missed twice) but it’s hard to feel too bad for them on the whole.