The 90th minute. Tied at 2. Hartford Athletic sent a cross into the box, but Philadelphia Union II goalkeeper Mitch Budler caught it easily. It looked like this USL Championship match, with big playoff implications, could be a draw.
Budler threw the ball forward. What happened next was the rare sports highlight that was both an incredible feat and a hilarious blooper. Danny Barrera, who'd come on in the 82nd minute, stuck his foot out … and scored, giving Hartford the 3-2 win.
It was a great goal, and very funny, and serves the Union right for renaming its minor-league club “Union II" from the much-cooler Bethlehem Steel. But was it legal? At least one blogger says it wasn't. At SB Nation, Jake Catanese says the goal should've been disallowed.
“If obstructing a goalkeepers distribution was legal we would see this play multiple times a week. Since it’s not, and we don’t, we’re just going to have to remind everyone why I am and will always be a stickler for this play until morale improves. Simply, it’s a player safety issue - goalkeepers in possession (i.e. - holding the ball in their hands) need space and time to safely distribute the ball without worry of interference from opponents.… Attempting to challenge a goalkeeper in possession, regardless of contact with the ball or keeper, should be judged as a careless challenge and a caution issued to the offender to reinforce that this at the professional level.”