COMMENTARY | Mistake-prone New York Red Bulls left back Roy Miller is having a rough week. His latest run of misfortune started this past Sunday when he was guilty of a hand-ball inside the penalty area late during New York's away match against San Jose Earthquakes. Miller followed that up by entering the penalty area far too early before SJ's star scorer Chris Wondolowski had his attempt saved by RBNY goalkeeper Luis Robles. The referee correctly allowed Wondo to retry the penalty, the American converted, and the Earthquakes went on to win 2-1.
Miller explained his actions when speaking with the media on Wednesday. Red Bulls supporters may want to take a couple of deep breaths before reading what the left back had to say about the incident.
"I just went ahead and I ran in like I would any other time. I did it on purpose, to make sure that the kicker was distracted, and failed the penalty," Miller told reporters according to Brian Lewis of the NY Post and Franco Panizo of MLSSoccer.com and Soccer by Ives. The logic gap, Wondolowski was the 2012 Major League Soccer Golden Boot winner, and he is also known for being one of the calmer and cooler penalty takers in the league, isn't the most frustrating thing about Miller's comments.
What's most aggravating is that, if Miller wasn't misquoted, he doesn't know and/or understand the rule.
Law 14, according to the WFMS.org website, reads as follows: "If, after the referee has given the signal for a PK to be taken, and before the ball is in play, a player of the defending team encroaches into the penalty area, or within ten yards of the penalty mark, the referee shall, nevertheless, allow the kick to proceed. It shall be retaken, if a goal is not scored.
The player concerned shall be cautioned."
Those of you who are still confused can refer to this chart that was posted on Twitter . Simply put, the only way Miller entering the penalty area early would have resulted in the penalty being retaken is if Wondolowski would not have scored, which is exactly what happened. It's possible that Miller was confused about this rule because of what happened last November when New York hosted rivals DC United in a playoff contest. In the second half of that game, then New York front man Kenny Cooper had to retake a converted player after teammate and Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry entered the area early.
At best, Miller was unsportsmanlike in his reasoning and his actions on Sunday night, disrespecting San Jose, his own team and the sport in the process. At worst, he's a professional footballer who doesn't know the laws of the sport he is paid to play, an individual who unintentionally cost his team a road point because he improperly attempted to "bend the rules."
However you want to look at it, I don't see how Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke can let Miller go unpunished. I won't go so far as to suggest that the Costa Rican defender should never again feature for New York (although I do understand why some fans feel that way). Petke dropping Miller from the team entirely for this weekend's clash with DC seems reasonable enough. That action would hopefully send a message to everybody in the RBNY squad;
if you're going to cheat, than at least do it correctly.
Zac has been covering New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer, Tottenham Hotspur, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
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