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Ref gets backpass call right in RSL's win over Sounders 2

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake's winning goal over Seattle Sounders 2 came with a bit of controversy — it came on an indirect free kick immediately following what the referee a deemed a deliberate backpass.

The rule itself isn't too controversial, but in case you need a little catching up, the rule is pretty simple in its wording (and complex in interpretation, as you'll see). The opposing team is due an indirect free kick if the goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, "touches the ball with his hands after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a team-mate" (FIFA Laws of the Game, Law 12)

So there's that. And here's the moment of that call.

The pivotal question — and it's one that Sounders fans have answered differently than RSL fans — hinges on whether or not there was a deflection on the play. I've watched it over and over and frankly from that angle, and it's hard to tell. That's all I've been able to take from it. You can see the referee's looking at it, and he initially doesn't see it as a backpass. But after a moment — perhaps of contemplation, perhaps of giving time to the complaints of the players — he does, in fact, give the indirect free kick.

To the rescue, of course, is Tyler Gibbons, part of the club's media outfit. He shared this Vine of that specific moment from an excellent angle, showing that the referee did, in fact, get the call right.

So, yeah. It actually was correct. Despite the hubbub around the whistle, it does look like it was a good one.

And, of course, Javier Morales scored it. But there was even some controversy in the buildup, with Sounders 2 players inside the 10-yard limit for an indirect free kick. While I tried to do some basic trigonometry to figure that out, but the lack of actual measurements in photographs doesn't make it easy. Still, it looks like it was somewhere between 6 and 8 yards that the closest player has stationed himself at, so that's a little unnerving — particularly as the referee, having tried to move the line back, seemed to just get fed up at the lack of progress he was making in that regard.

But hey, rather than worrying about that, let's just watch the goal. Why not?