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MLS: Goalkeeper gets red-carded in confusing, dramatic penalty shootout

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Orlando City SC won its first MLS playoff game in franchise history on Saturday – and it came in one of the wildest finishes to a penalty shootout we’ve ever seen.

Let’s break down what happens here, because there are a lot of confusing twists and turns over the course of a 20+ minute shootout.

  • Leading 4-3 in the shootout with New York City FC after four of the five rounds, Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese saved Valentin Castellanos’ attempt, seemingly winning the game for Orlando
  • As Orlando’s manager ran down the tunnel in celebration, referees ruled that Gallese had come off his line to save the penalty. Per MLS rules, goalkeepers must be standing on the goal line when the ball is struck, and replays shows that Gallese had barely inched forward.
  • Per the rules of the International Football Association Board from 2019/2020, a goalkeeper that jumps off his line is awarded a mandatory yellow card. Gallese had already been shown a yellow card earlier in the match, and was thus shown a red card and sent off. These IFAB rules have since been updated, and under the new rules Gallese would have remained in the game, but MLS will not transition to the new ruleset until the current season has completed.
  • This is where things get extremely weird. Now without a goalkeeper, Orlando is forced to put an outfield player in goal. Orlando tried to bring in a substitute, Brian Rowe – but the referees spent more than five minutes trying to figure out if Rowe would be allowed to enter the game. Ultimately, Orlando was not allowed to make the substitution (as Rowe had not come off the bench yet, and was not an active player), forcing Rodrigo Schlegel to take over in goal.
  • A full 10 minutes after Gallese made the disallowed save, Castellanos converted his second chance from the line.
  • Orlando’s next penalty kick taker, former Manchester United star Nani, had his kick saved by NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson, which extended the shootout.
  • The next two players to go, Nicolas Acevedo and Robin Jansson, converted.
  • Schlegel then saved a kick from Gudmundur Thorarinsson.
  • Strangely, everyone seemed to think the game was over. The commentators congratulated Orlando for moving on in the playoffs, and there was an unexplained delay as the referee inspected his notes. Orlando still had to make a kick to win, though, and Benji Michel converted to beat NYCFC.

Absolutely wild.

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