The season’s nearly done, there’s no time to waste, so let’s get right to this week’s wonderings!
What was Adam Mitter thinking?

It’s fitting that, in the same game that Jordan Murrell returned to the Valour FC lineup following a suspension for his bizarre red-card incident, one of his teammates had us scratching our heads once again. Down 2-0 after 25 minutes last Thursday, Valour went down a man when defender Adam Mitter was sent off for clearly swatting a Forge FC shot off of his goal-line. Perhaps he thought his actions would go undetected by referee Serge Topalian; perhaps, cognizant of Valour’s 8-0 shellacking by Cavalry FC a few weeks back, it was a misguided attempt to stop the bleeding. Either way, the whistle blew and the red card was mandatory, though I also wonder, did the punishment fit the crime? As a ref myself, admittedly it’s a faux pas to second-guess the decisions of my whistle-wielding comrades. But I wonder whether Topalian wished he’d have held his whistle for another second, let the play to continue, and avoided the Mitter red card entirely by allowing Anthony Novak to score on the rebound. After all, if Forge scores on the play anyway, the "goal or obvious goal-scoring opportunity" hasn’t actually been denied. So, no DOGSO red card. Yes, it’s unorthodox to allow an advantage in a DOGSO situation; however, given FIFA’s emphasis in its newer editions of the Laws of the Game on adhering to the "spirit" of the game, I wonder whether Mitter and his team were punished too harshly for what was, at the end of the day, simply a procedural brain fart.
What were HFX Wanderers thinking?

Since we’re already rustling around in the tall grass of the FIFA Laws of the Game, allow me to call to your attention a revision for 2019-20, when a defensive wall contains three or more players, opponents must stand at least a metre away. This is to prevent the pointless jostling that resulted when attackers would try to burrow their way into a wall for supposedly tactical purposes. That change has already led to some creativity from teams around the world, with one example coming at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday. In the first half, with Mohamed Kourouma standing over a free kick from about 30 yards out, Forge FC set up a three-man wall. Wanderers countered with a three-man wall of their own, just close enough to the Forge wall to not run afoul of the new law. "Ah," viewers were thinking. "Surely Halifax has some ingenious set-piece trickery planned here!" Instead, Kourouma unceremoniously blasted the ball into his teammates, who put forth only a perfunctory effort to get out of the way. I mean, sometimes you’ve gotta shoot your shot — just, y’know, not like that.
What, philosophically, is an own goal?

Kadin Chung was credited with Pacific FC’s opening (and as it turned out, winning) goal against FC Edmonton last Saturday, channeling a bit of his inner Arjen Robben and hitting a left-footed strike after cutting inside. But it wasn’t a clean strike — it took a big-time deflection off Eddies defender Mele Temguia, leaving goalkeeper Connor James with no chance of reacting in time. Now, Temguia didn’t do anything egregiously wrong; he was simply trying to get in front of the shot. But replays appear to show that, had Temguia not been there, Chung’s shot would likely have gone wide. By that standard, was it not Temguia’s presence that caused the goal to happen, thus meaning it should be an own goal? Maybe, unless you consider the counterfactual: if Temguia wasn’t there, what kind of shot would Chung have taken? That is, what impact did Temguia’s presence have on the type of shot Chung chose to take? Might Chung, in that alternate timeline, have blasted the ball cleanly into the top corner anyway? Or would he have put it even further wide? Perhaps he’d have whiffed entirely and face-planted on the turf? We’ll never know. There’s no hard-and-fast, set-in-stone rule about what constitutes an own goal; however, just asking the question pretty quickly engulfs one in musing about the quantum multiverse… or maybe that’s just me.
Who is the CPL’s Teenager of the Year?

This isn’t an actual end-of-year award (as far as I know), but given that just-turned-18-year-old Tyler Attardo bagged a brace for Valour FC on Sunday to position himself among the league leaders in goals, it might be an honour worth considering. After all, he’s not the only under-19 player to make an impact this year. FCE’s Marcus Velado-Tsegaye, 18, has gained in confidence as the year has gone along; HFX’s Scott Firth, 18, getting a professional crack with his hometown club has been a nice story; 19-year-olds Jose Hernandez and Alessandro Hojabrpour have been a big part of PFC’s plans, while their 17-year-old teammate Ahmed Alghamdi has also impressed. And if we’re willing to stretch the definition of "teenager" (and why not, since we’re just making this up anyway), Malyk Hamilton of Cavalry only turned 20 a couple of weeks ago. Then again, if we’re including 20-year-olds, it’s tough to exclude Diyaeddine Abzi of York9 FC from the conversation — and of course there’s Terran Campbell of Pacific FC, though he turns 21 before the season ends. So, I guess we’ve got to include 21-year-olds, which brings in Tristan Borges and Zoom Langwa and Easton Ongaro and Mathias Janssens and Marcel Zajac and… Y’know what? Forget I said anything. The regular awards are just fine. Anthem

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