The Portland Timbers needed three tries at a penalty kick to score an equalizing goal against D.C. United Sunday afternoon. This is unusual, as most of the time you only get one chance at a penalty kick. Here's how the madness happened.
Let's start with the penalty itself. It looked to me like Dejan Jakovic clearly pulled down Kenny Cooper by his shirt in the area. Reasonable minds can disagree, however, so here's the video below.
So, Cooper picks himself up and goes to take the penalty. Then things start to get nuts.
Cooper takes the penalty and Bill Hamid pulls off a great save low to his right. But, as you'll see below, after Hamid saves the penalty, assistant referee Eric Proctor raises his flag. Hamid has stepped off the goal line before Cooper has struck the ball. Therefore the penalty is not legitimate.
This is all covered in this section of Law 14 in FIFA's laws of the game. Law 14 covers matters, infractions and incidents related to penalty kicks, and it plainly says the defending goalkeeper "must remain on his goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts until the ball has been kicked." However, the penalty is retaken only if it is not scored in these cases. Matters are complicated by the fact that referees tend to give the goalkeeper a bit (just a bit of leeway) when it comes to straying off the goal line. Obviously, Hamid's encroachment was too obvious for the assistant referee to ignore.
So everyone pulls themselves together, Cooper retakes the penalty, and Hamid pulls off another great save, this time going low to his left. But again, he comes off his line too early, Proctor raises his flag, and referee Geoff Gamble orders another penalty kick.
By the letter of the law, the ruling is correct. However, you can't really blame Bill Hamid for losing his top here, as it's remarkably rare for a penalty to be retaken once in a match, never mind twice. This match (start at 57 minutes) is the most recent (and only other) time I can think of wherein a penalty had to be retaken twice.
Jack Jewsbury takes the third penalty instead of Cooper, which the latter seems none-too-pleased about, but the decision works as Jewsbury blazes an unstoppable shot past Hamid.
Not exactly something that D.C. United will want to relive, but hey, they eventually got the win, so at least we can look back on this and laugh, yes?