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Montreal’s “trickery” foul that everyone (including the refs) missed

Some men just want to watch the world burn

MLS: Eastern Conference Championship-Toronto FC at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Well, you learn something new every day.

During last night’s MLS Conference Finals game between Montreal Impact and Toronto FC, Montreal defenseman Victor Cabrera used his foot to flick a ball into the air before heading it back to his goalie. This allowed the goalkeeper to catch the ball with his hands rather than being restricted to his feet if it were a pass on the ground.

Here’s the play in question:

The trickery rule was developed to prevent players from needlessly wasting time, in this case by heading the ball back to their goalie who could hold onto it for an extended period of time.

When called, trickery is an immediate yellow card and an indirect free kick at the spot of the foul.

It took a sharp-eyed Twitter user to be the first to call out the dirty deed:

I’ll be the first to confess that I didn’t know it was a foul at all, much less catch it while watching the game. Flicking the ball up was an odd choice, sure. But it looked like more of a stylistic flourish than an attempt to deliberately circumvent the rules.

At least I can rest easy knowing I’m not the only one that didn’t know the trickery. Four FIFA refs let play continue in spite of Cabrera’s seal-like antics.

There’s a pretty interesting discussion going on over on the MLS sub-Reddit here.

Will there be more “trickery” in the second leg of the Eastern Conference finals? There’s only one way to find out. MLS Playoffs continue this Sunday at 3pm CT. More information at