Late disputed goal helps Ramapo advance by Darren Cooper of The Record
FRANKLIN LAKES – First of all, it wasn’t a goal. Then it was.
Ramapo got an extremely questionable call with 2:46 left that led to the go-ahead goal for the Green Raiders in Sunday’s Bergen County boys soccer tournament semifinals. They added a breakaway goal by Andrew Furman to make the final score 4-2 over Glen Rock, and set up a chance at a historic fourth straight county title – something no program has ever done.
Unfortunately, though, the quality 80 minutes of soccer displayed by both teams was overshadowed by a crazy few minutes that left Glen Rock fans enraged, and even Ramapo players and coaches not sure what happened.
Let’s set the characters in our story. Furman is a master of the long throw-in, which Ramapo uses as a valuable weapon. Early in the game, Panthers coaches asked the line judges to make sure Furman was releasing the ball without touching the line. If he did, it would be illegal.
At approximately the three minute mark, Furman angled in a throw-in from the sideline in front of his own bench. The line judge, about 40 yards behind the play, raised his flag, which would seemed to indicate an illegal throw in.
No one appeared to notice, as the ball eventually bounced around the box and was tapped in by Ramapo sophomore Liam Nelson for a 3-2 Ramapo lead.
While Ramapo celebrated, finally the raised flag was seen and the officials conferred.
The official who was in the field of play, then pointed to the spot where the throw-in occurred, to indicate that it would be Glen Rock’s throw-in.
Then, more discussion and the official and the line judge who made the call got together again.
After discussing it with the coaches, the point went to the center circle. It was a goal.
“I don’t know if my foot was on the line,” Furman told NorthJersey.com reporter Sean Farrell. “I was trying to look out for it because I have typically never been called on it before. To see [the flag up] I was kind of shocked after. I guess the flag was up for a play previously and the ref never took his flag down. At least, that’s what everyone was saying.”
There was some talk on the sidelines that it was possible the ref still had his flag raised because of a corner kick Ramapo had taken about a minute before the Furman throw-in.
At least, that’s one theory.
Glen Rock coach Casey Schick spelled out what he saw carefully.
“The ref called a foul throw because [Furman’s] foot was over the line,” said Schick. “The refs got to talking, they called the goal off. Then they talked a little more and they said it was the interpretation of the play. I’m not really sure, but I’m not an official, so I’m not really sure what the final reasoning was.”
This would seem to indicate that perhaps the official’s point was no discernible advantage was had by Ramapo if Furman’s foot was over the line. In that case, soccer rules say play on.
Also, it may be worth wondering whether or not the flag was seen by the head official too late to stop play.
“They said that they couldn’t call it after a play occurred,” said Ramapo coach Evan Baumgarten, adding that with a three-man officiating system calls are sometimes changed.
The controversy ruined a spectacular Sunday afternoon of soccer, and tensions were high at the final whistle. Glen Rock fans were yelling at the officials. Schick deserves credit for diffusing as much of the situation as he could. He made his players stay back.
Schick was near the line judge when the flag went up.
“I was talking about where the throw-in should have been,” he said calmly. “It should have been about 5-10 yards back. That’s what I was communicating to him. While that was happening, he saw that his foot was over the line. I could not [see it] because I was not on the line, but that’s why we have a line judge and he made the correct call.”
The biggest shame is Glen Rock was playing superbly, and Ramapo was as well. A great finish was brewing, but then spoiled.
After the game, Ramapo players were jeered, one woman called out “cheaters” while Baumgarten was talking with reporters.
Like Schick, he said he was proud of his team, and wasn’t concerned with what other people thought.
“I can’t control what other people think,” said Baumgarten.