It's safe to say the San Jose Earthquakes are much more familiar with the Laws of the Game now than they were before Saturday's 1-1 tie with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Specifically, it's the sixth subsection of Law 4 that will surely be ingrained in each player's mind after the team's lack of familiarity directly contributed to their giving up the equalizer while essentially choosing to play with nine men for a few minutes.
To recap: Sometime around the 60th minute Alan Gordon and Victor Bernardez both decided they needed to change boots. In accordance with the rule, the players were forced to leave the field and wait until a stoppage of play to re-enter. In a perfect moment of serendipity, the Earthquakes' sideline reporter actually referenced the rule correctly while explaining the situation in real time.
The Whitecaps were only too happy to take advantage, pressing forward and getting the equalizer off a well-taken goal from Corey Hertzog.
Although the Earthquakes sideline complained vehemently, it would appear they only have themselves to blame. Regardless of the intricacies of the rule, willingly putting yourself at the whim of the referee to wave players back onto the field seems outrageously naive.
As it turned out, though, the referee was fully in the right as the rule states "the player is only allowed to re-enter the field of play when the ball is out of play."