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You Might Remember MLS Penalty Run-Ups, But What About Chile’s ‘Long Penalty’ Kicks?

Soccer fans will occasionally look back at the early years of Major League Soccer and chuckle at how Americans tried to make the sport different. While people poke fun at MLS weirdness, the Chile Long Penalty from 1990 is an alteration to the rules that no one seems to remember or talk about. This rule was far more bizarre than the old MLS penalty kicks.

First let’s take a look back at what MLS did in the 90s.

Rather than ending games in a tie, MLS decided there must be a winner, and every tie went to a penalty shootout. Instead of a traditional shootout you would see today, MLS did it where a player would start with the ball 35-yards away from the goal and only have five seconds to shoot, borrowing the idea from the old NASL.

Here’s American and current Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch scoring the game-winning run-up penalty for the Chicago Fire in 1998. MLS did an NBA style playoff, and this was Marsch winning Game 1 of a three-game series.

This rule was peculiar for sure, but it has nothing on Chile’s “Penal Largo.” This isn’t only the greatest name possible, but one of the craziest rules to ever exist in the sport.

Chile’s Long Penalty

In 1990, Chile introduced a bizarre rule. A new dashed line on the field was drawn 28 yards out from the goal. If any foul occurred inside 28 yards but not in the 18-yard penalty box, then a long penalty kick was given.

Play would be stopped, and a player would have the opportunity to have a shot on goal with no wall from the top of the arch in front of the penalty box. 

This rule would only last for six months before being scrapped.

If you’re an MLS fan and anyone tries to slander the league in the 90s for run-up penalty kicks, you now can point out that Chile had weirder rules back in the day.

Thank goodness the Chile Long Penalty didn’t catch on and become a rule for every league. Imagine how many goals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would have if they were consistently given free kicks with no wall.

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