What A Fantastic Call By The Ref. We're Sorry We Shouted At You.

Nemanja Nikolić appeared to be clearly offside when he scored his first goal for the Chicago Fire. Except, he wasn't - and we all owe the referee an apology.

We want to start with an apology. Maybe two.

When we first saw this clip of Nemanja Nikolić scoring his first goal for the Chicago Fire, we were so certain he was offside we would have been willing to bet the farm, if we owned one. Since we don't, we settled for screaming with reckless abandon at the television. We may have insulted the ref. We certainly scared the children. The dog still hasn't come out of hiding. Sorry on all fronts.

But, come on. It's so obvious that Nikolić is offside that even a blind referee turned in the opposite direction, and maybe even in another stadium, could have seen it. How the referee in question doesn't raise the flag is mystery that, at first glance, ranks right up there with whether Tupac still lives and why toilets flush the opposite direction in Australia.

It turns out, of course, that the referee is an enlightened genius. And like so many men of this stripe, misunderstood in his own time – or, at least, for the 15 to 30 seconds following this goal. That is, until everyone (myself included) realized that Stephen Sunday (aka "Sunny") of Real Salt Lake actually tipped the ball to Nikolić, who had the presence of mind to stay focused and put the ball calmly away. Haters be damned.

In conclusion, bravo referee. Despite past indications otherwise, we do actually think you are a man of honor.

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