Devon Sandoval was offside during the buildup to Real Salt Lake's first goal last night, and the video evidence bears that out.
He's not more than a foot offside, and it's only his head that's peeking out significantly — you'd probably not even see clear daylight between him and the closest defender — but it was enough that it's got Toronto fans in a bit of a tizzy. I mean, can you blame them? It's the sort of thing we'd latch on to as a fan base, too.
The Sun in Toronto used the magnificent "Salt Lake Screwjob" as a headline for Kurt Larson's story on the game, referencing a sorta-timely moment from WWF history ("The Montreal Screwjob"), and while we do see that the referee got this one wrong, you'll understand if we're suitably underwhelmed by the fervor.
It's hardly the first offside goal that's been scored, and it'll most definitely not be the last. I get the complaints. Really, I do. But more meaningful than that — and something Toronto should be upset about instead of the call — is that nobody (and I mean nobody) was marking Luke Mulholland's run from deep.
If the margin's that fine, refereeing's always going to be difficult. They might get it wrong. Here's the thing: I don't really mind. I mean, yeah, it would be great if we had perfectly refereed matches, but we don't. We have to accept that these things happen, and they happen to teams with shocking regularity. And we could try to blame referees for being human, but they're being asked to adjudicate on one of the most difficult things to judge in real-time — mistakes are inevitable.
And let's just close with this: If this were us, I'd be more upset about the defending than the marginally offside player in the build-up to a goal. Maybe I'm crazy.
Update: I realized I should have included the goal. Here it is.