clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Most seem to agree Nouhou ‘handball’ was called correctly

Greg Vanney didn’t really help his case, either.

Perhaps one of the most meme-able moments of the MLS season happened on Saturday following the Seattle Sounders’ 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy. A very animated Greg Vanney got up in front of the media and not only complained about a handball call he felt the Galaxy deserved, but he offered an exaggerated demonstration.

Putting his hands on his hips and hunching over just slightly, it was hard to miss the likeness to at least one well-known meme that populates internet discussions.

If Nouhou had actually done what Vanney demonstrated, it surely would have been called a handball. The reality of the situation was much less cut-and-dry. Nouhou’s hands were actually clasped behind his back, not on his hips. His elbows were also relatively close to his body, if still a bit “chicken-winged.”’s Instant Replay is not necessarily the final word on this, but both Andrew Wiebe and FIFA referee Christina Unkel agree that the play was probably called correctly on the field even if they acknowledge it’s not an obvious call either way.

“I still prefer [Alan] Chapman’s no-call decision and since it’s gray, and debatable it’s the right decision for [Sorin] Stoica not to recommend this down,” Unkel said. “I think the preferred decision is no handling.”

Herculez Gomez of Futbol Americas had a similar take, and suggested that Vanney was more trying to “save face” for a team that was off to a bad start.

No one is going to pretend as if Brian Schmetzer is an unbiased observer in all this, but he does seem to nail the main takeaway: there’s always going to be some gray area when it comes to handballs and, frankly, that’s probably for the best.

“VAR can solve a lot of things, but that’s a clear example of how there’s still ambiguity,” he said. “The refs’ jobs are hard. It was a tough call.”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Sounder At Heart Weekly Roundup newsletter!

A twice weekly roundup of Seattle Sounders and OL Reign news from Sounder at Heart