Did Charlie Davies Dive To Get Penalty Against LA Galaxy?

Easily the most controversial call from Saturday's MLS action was the penalty given to DC United's Charlie Davies against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Upon watching the replay, it seems pretty obvious that Davies went to ground rather easily. He had just beaten Omar Gonzalez, who definitely deserves some amount of blame for using his arms and giving a slight shove to Davies, but a penalty definitely seems harsh.

It does bring up an interesting point, though, and that has to do with instructions MLS has given refs this year: namely cutting down on physical play, especially inside the penalty area. When these directives were first announced, it should have been obvious that more penalties, at least earlier in the year were going to be the result. 

So far, that's exactly what appears to be happening. With a penalty being called at a rate of roughly .29 per match, we're on pace for about 85 being called this year. That would be a MLS record and about one more per week than was called last year.

Unfortunately, calls like this are probably going to continue to be more common place until one of two things happens. Either MLS will ask refs to be more reluctant to call penalties or players will simply start playing less physical in the box. I don' think I'd hold my breath on either of those things happening anytime soon.

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