Despite new appeals process, RSL not disputing Olave red card

OlaveRed (Getty Images)

Real Salt Lake feel a bit wronged for what happened in the 69th minute of their 3-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday night. Even though the club has an opportunity to rectify the situation to a degree — turning over the loss obviously isn't an option — it is choosing to pass.

In the past, teams in MLS could only have red cards overturned in case of mistaken identity, but that is no longer the case. There is a new rule in place this season that allows teams to appeal red cards, but at a steep risk. Sources confirmed to SBI that to participate in the appeal process, teams have to post a $25,000 bond at the beginning of the season that they risk losing if their appeals are not successful. Even further, the player suspended risks having to miss an extra game if the play is not overturned. Those stipulations are in place for teams not to loosely challenge every decision that does not go their way.

Each team is permitted to challenge as many plays as they want in a given season, but two decisions that don't get overturned results in the club losing appeal privileges for the remainder of the current season. If any of those appeals is judged to be incredibly frivolous and unnecessary, a team loses the right to challenge for the current season and the following season. With those guidelines in place, RSL has elected to let Jamison Olave's controversial red card from Saturday go without a fight.

"It's not a super clear-cut incident," a spokesperson for RSL said. "Playing into that is that we have three games this week (including the San Jose one). You could make the reasonable assumption that Jamison probably would have rested anyway, because we have another game on Saturday."

The play in question happened when referee Elias Bazakos issued Olave a red card for appearing to deny Steven Lenhart an obvious goal-scoring opportunity midway through the second half of what was a 1-1 game at the time. Replays showed that Olave entered into a fair challenge with Lenhart for the ball until the San Jose forward positioned himself in front of Olave, grabbed the Colombian defender's shorts and pulled him into his body to make it appear like an egregious foul. Bazakos, trailing the play, did not have the luxury of replay and immediately sent Olave off for the foul, which reduced RSL to nine men for the final 21 minutes of the match.

Here is video of the Olave-Lenhart incident:

Another deterrent for clubs to appeal plays is that since the league's disciplinary committee reviews all plays anyway, there's potential for certain aspects of plays to be rectified retroactively without an appeal. In RSL's case, there is little incentive for the club to challenge Bazakos' ruling in hopes of sparing Olave the red card, especially with the potential taxes that come along with it. The disciplinary committee could look at the play and choose to take action on Lenhart or lessen Olave's punishment (i.e. rescind the fine) if it chooses to, as well.

No team tried to use the appeal system yet this season. Any potential appeal would be heard by a representative of U.S. Soccer, the Canadian Soccer Association and a member of PRO, the new referee organization created to improve the quality of refereeing in North America.

As for Lenhart, who has a bit of a reputation as an instigator, Saturday night was is not the first time he has coaxed referees into making a call that has swung a result in San Jose's direction this season. 

He was able to draw an off-ball foul on Marc Burch in the box in Seattle on March 31 that gave San Jose a penalty kick that led to the only goal in the Earthquakes' 1-0 victory over the Sounders. His latest act involving Olave put San Jose in position to strike late against RSL, which they did twice in stoppage time to take another three points off a chief conference competitor.

With RSL not appealing the card, Olave will miss Wednesday's match against FC Dallas, pressing Chris Schuler into action. Fabian Espindola is also suspended for the match for his red card, which came on a two-footed, studs-up challenge to Sam Cronin, meaning that Paulo Jr. is a likely candidate to start up top alongside Alvaro Saborio.


What do you think of the new appeals process? Do you think RSL should appeal Olave's red? Do you think the league's referees have been undermined too much considering the new disciplinary committee rulings and this appeals process? What's your take on Lenhart as a player?

Share your thoughts below.

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77 Responses to Despite new appeals process, RSL not disputing Olave red card

  1. Jahinho_Guerro (Toronto FC fan) says:

    that was definitely not a red.

    if the “discipline committee” doesn’t rescinded this, i will have to question the seriousness of it. Regardless of who they have suspended already.

  2. Spencer says:

    That definitely was not a red card. I don’t even believe it is a foul. Olave is faster and had caught back up and there was definitely pulling from both players. Ref should have just let it play on, and if anything it was a foul on Lenhart because Olave had caught up but he was using his arm to prevent him from getting ahead.

  3. kkicks20 says:

    (Disclaimer: RSL Fan here)I don’t think it was a foul either, but I also think the referee was out of position and I’m sure from his angle, it looked like a foul. Which means, it was an automatic red. Super irritating and unfortunate, but you can’t win them all. RSL will just have to chalk this one up to bad luck and move on. Unfortunate, but true.

  4. MLS Fan From NC says:

    I hate watching Steven Lenhart “play” soccer.

  5. David St. Hubbins says:

    Olave did not catch Lenhart… he was behind Lenhart and most definitely not “shoulder to shoulder.” Avi Creditor just lost all credibility for saying that. Creditor come on man, you are better than that. Olave obviously shoves Lenhart in the back.

    Lenhart clearly has position on Olave. Olave is just a fraction too late and shoves Lenhart in the back out of desperation. Not the most horrific challenge ever but definitely a 100% red card for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity.

    If you want to see what a true “shoulder to shoulder” challenge is then go look up Olave’s challenge on Wayne Rooney in the MLS All Star game last year on Youtube.

  6. David St. Hubbins says:

    That is a red card 100 times out of 100.

  7. Andy says:

    Lots of complaining about this red… perhaps the refs were given some instruction after San Jose’s match vs Red Bulls (and Marquez situation).

    From my perspective, it wasn’t shoulder to shoulder… Olave was baited (and yes grabbed) and made contact. This happens all the time… It certainly happens in almost every game I’ve played since I’ve been about 16 years old.

    The best part of this… all the drama it has created. MLS needs all the rabid fans it can muster. Can’t wait for the replay at Rio Tinto.

  8. Camjam says:

    Hahahaha ok.

  9. chris says:

    I hate red cards. Should just eject the player and take away a sub.

  10. Camjam says:

    Yes I can see why Lenhart trying to give Olave a h@ndy was a red card on Olave.

  11. Jon says:

    Lenhart is an obnoxious hack and definitely tugs Olave’s shorts at some point here here, but this post doesn’t accurately describe the incident. Olave never catches up to Lenhart, and he puts a forearm into Lenhart’s back. That’s the sort of thing that pretty much any ref will give a red card for doing.

    Not sure what Creditor is seeing, tbh.

  12. Graham says:

    Here’s what you have to remember about the discipline committee, and this should really shape what you think they should and shouldn’t do.

    There are five people on the committee, and there has to be a 5/5 vote for the play to even be ruled on. As you can see, lots of people below have doubts about the play, I’m sure 1 out of the 5 won’t see it as clear cut either. Therefore, I highly doubt it will be overturned.

  13. Vinz Clortho says:

    You’ve lost ALL credibility. There’s no other way to see it; Olave with a two handed blatant shove in the back while Lenhart had to grab whatever he could (Olave’s peeter) to avoid serious injury.

    C’mon Olave was cutting off the inside lane so Airpit Hair Head cut inside and made a money grab, tripping them both up. The initial bump between them is a weak foul call at best….

    The only fouling came from Lenfart…

  14. Rob in SJ says:

    RSL fans and Lenhart haters out there if this is so obviuosly a missed call then RSL needs to appeal, No?

    This is a legit Red Card with Lenhart having position on the play and missing a scoring opportunity due to the contact from Olave. Put this the rest already. Game is over.

  15. Vinz Clortho says:

    I think what the article is saying is that he was going to rest Wed vs. Dallas anyway, implying that RSL is saving any appeals for later in the season when they might be more valuable.

  16. CMac says:

    Hey there, go watch the correct reply before you start calling out the writers credibility.
    link to

    Clearly shoulder to shoulder, clearly a foul by Lenhart.

  17. Seriously says:

    I guess all of you defending the red are SJ fans? I’m a fan of the league and not a single team. This was not even a foul by Olave. Lenhart dove, if anyone should have been carded its him.

  18. CMac says:

    Post this replay if you want all these SJ clowns to eat their words:
    link to

  19. David St. Hubbins says:

    That angle shows the same thing, clearly NOT shoulder to shoulder… Olave clearly behind Lenhart.

  20. Joamiq says:

    Wow… that’s actually kind of a great idea.

  21. Joamiq says:

    Definitely not clear cut enough for me to think it’s worth appealing – though this notion that it’s a red because Olave didn’t catch up to him is bunk. Olave clearly closes the gap, and then the only think keeping Olave behind Lenhart is Lenhart’s arm. Lenhart definitely deserves some disciplinary action for that bush league stunt.

  22. tim says:

    Yep. He was not going for the ball, last man, and denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Red card based on the rules of soccer, not severity of the play.

    Good call.

  23. jp992751 says:

    Homer beyond a doubt! Wow Olave never even makes contact. Lenhart is a hack was beat and threw himself in to olave. Olave’s hands never even touch lenhart. Terrible call CMac video is clear cut evidence on what a dive it was.

  24. eric says:

    Olave never even touches lenfarts back. All the quakes fans need to realize if they admit it was a terrible call, as it was. The league isn’t going to say ha got ya and over turn it. Cant wait for these teams to play again.

  25. wykell says:

    I mean this with all due respect, but you aren’t a referee are you?

    I ask, because I am a referee, and there are two HUGE issues with the play at hand. The first, and most obvious, was the clear grabbing and pulling of Olave’s shorts before any other contact is made – the LOTG clearly delineate holding as a foul. The second, which actually took me two watches of the replay to get to is that Lehart deliberately kicks Olave in the back of Olave’s right leg as he starts to fall down, in an attempt to make it look like he was tripped. In real time, I 100% can see how the referee can think that it was a foul by Olave. However, I am also 100% certain that the play SHOULD have been a yellow card for Lenhart (UB-Simulation), and also a foul (Holding) on Lenhart.

  26. Truth says:

    I usually don’t get baited into these things but it’s just too ridiculous not to reply to this post. David, can you give me a minute/second mark where you can see this obvious and blatant shove by Olave? In either of the videos that have been posted? Olave’s right hand is at his own side the whole time and then gets hooked by Lenhart as he realizes he actually might have to shoot the ball at which point he then proceeds to grab Olave’s shorts and quite literally propels himself to the ground. At no point does Olave move his arm away from his body, there is no extension. His right arm stays flush with his body.

    Please I’m begging you, I’ll wait. Go back and watch both feeds and tell me at what second mark Olave shoves Lenhart.

    This is just spectacular defense. I blame the ref for the horrible call but I can understand how in the moment, being out of position he could think it was a red. There is no trip(Until Lenhart throws his left leg way out of his natural stride), there is no shove there is just good defensive pressure from Olave off Lenhart’s left shoulder.

    San Jose won the game but don’t make it seem like it wasn’t gifted to you. San Jose barely won this game in stoppage time when they had 60 minutes of one-man advantage(The Espindola red card was completely warranted) and then 20(+6) minutes of being 2 men up. You got lucky. You make yourself look bad when you tacitly praise Lenhart for doing exactly what you vehemently opposed when Saborio flopped and drew a penalty forcing a red on Burling last year.

  27. RSL Fan says:

    Just call the game both ways. That is all I ask. How Dawkins wasn’t given a red card shows beyond all doubt that the refs don’t call it both ways.

    Yes, Espindola deserved the red. And Sabo dove – last year.

    Let’s talk at the end of the season.

  28. DasMoots says:

    rsl’s brass doesn’t put their money where their mouth is so they must believe the call isn’t getting over turned because it was a valid red card.

    everyone else stop bitching.

  29. Matt says:

    The laws of the game say that denial of a goal-scoring opportunity is in fact a red card. Complain to FIFA if you don’t like it.

    RSL should play better if they want to win more games. They were already down a man at that point so it’s not like the Olave incident was the sole reason they lost.

  30. Matt says:

    RSL fans are total cry babies. Suck it loser.

  31. Matt says:

    RSL’s spokesperson says it’s not clearcut. SJ was simply a better team than RSL on the day. That happens in sports. Sorry if that hurts your feelings dude.

  32. Neil says:

    My opinion. They certainly could have called a foul on Lenhart, but there are literally dozens of altercatoins in every game where the foul could go either way. From where the ref was positioned there is no way he could see the shorts grab. Lenhart clearly had postion on Olave and there was a bump when the two came together. The ref saw that contact saw Olave cleary behind Lenhart (no way shoulder to shoulder) and called the foul. Once the foul was called the red card was automatic.

    No way the RSL wins an appeal which is why they aren’t even trying.

  33. Matt says:

    Yes, Lenhart is allowed to stick his arm out. If you lose position it is hard to get position back for that very reason. It’s called being beat.

    If Olave didn’t want to get red carded he could have avoided contact, but he didn’t.

  34. Matt says:

    It was in now way as terrible as the non-call of a violent injury-causing tackle by Marquez on the Quakes just last weekend. Our starter is out 8 weeks and Marquez is laughing and still getting paid millions. The ref didn’t even call a foul despite it happening right in front of him.

  35. eric says:

    Agreed Matt, that was a crap situation for you. But think how violated olave must be after getting his junk tugged by a cabbage patch doll.

  36. Vinz Clortho says:

    Maybe the ref should check w/ his linesman before pulling red…

  37. Matt says:

    You could say that after every game for every team. RSL fans need to respectfully grow a pair and move on to the next game.

  38. Bob in San Jose says:

    Your tears are delicious.

  39. David St. Hubbins says:

    I never denied the fact Lenhart grabbed Olave’s shorts. It’s blatantly obvious that Olave drives his shoulder into Lenhart’s back simultaneous to the time that Lenhart grabs his shorts.

    The conspiracy theory that Lenhart was plotting that whole time to somehow trick/force Olave to drive his shoulder into his back is laughable. Sure, and the government is also trying to poison our water supply and 9/11 was an inside job as well.

    Olave almost caught Lenhart but he was a moment too late and panicked and tried to shove Lenhart in the back out of desperation.

  40. Northern England MLS Fan says:

    Avi Creditor’s reporting of this incident has been disgraceful and a real stain on his reputation as a proper football journalist.

    Frankly I’ve seen less bias in match threads on Big Soccer. I can take his obvious disdain for the Earthquakes, unfortunate and unprofessional as that may be (it’s a sneering attitude that seems to be present in all SBI Contributors), but his continued character assassination of Steven Lenhart across a number of media outlets borders on the libellous.

    As others have stated above, if Lenhart’s “crime” was all so clear-cut we wouldn’t be talking about it here. Sideshow Bob would have been sent off and RSL would have the win that Creditor seems to believe they were ‘due’.

    Is it too much to hope for at least a modicum of detatched professionalism, Mr. Creditor?

  41. SLR says:

    All I know is that even with two men up, SJ couldn’t score again until 6(!) minutes of stoppage time had already begun. Sorry, I’m not convinced SJ is that good. We’ll see how SJ does at Rio Tinto, 11v11 (or even 11v10, if the Olave red doesn’t happen, RSL at least takes a point).

  42. REX says:

    As soon as i read Steven Lenhart i knew it was a dive. I dont even have to watch the video.

  43. David St. Hubbins says:

    those announcers are retarded or blind they said “there was absolutely no contact” by Olave which is 100% verifiably false from every video angle they used it’s obvious Olave drives his shoulder into Lenhart’s back.

  44. jp992751 says:

    Look at the last replay in the video. Olave is running a straight line and Lenhart initiates the contact and crumbles to the ground. Olave never made contact. Lenhart made all the contact by leaning into him.

  45. David St. Hubbins says:

    SJ dominated that game and were knocking on the door throughout with numerous close shots on target… it was only a matter of time until RSL broke down. And SJ scored in the first minute of stoppage time so it’s not like the extra time had any effect.

  46. SLR says:

    You should dominate a game when you’re up a man for an hour (and two for a part of that). That tells me nothing about SJ.

  47. Neuwerld says:

    It was a DOGSO foul. That = red.

  48. Neuwerld says:

    Playing 11v10 or 9 often makes it harder to score against good teams because they already have good defenses but then pack it in and work even harder.

    Offense is what suffers when losing men, and it did in this case; RSL didn’t create anything other than the goal.

  49. SLR says:

    Yet they goal they did score was when they were down a man…

  50. chris says:

    And, preceeding that by grabbing Olave’s shorts to pull Olave into him.

    Lenhart should receive the suspension of Olave plus 2 games for bringing the game into disrepute with the acting and pleading for a card upon realizing he connived the ref.

    DC – do the right thing.

  51. Ben says:

    How could Olave have avoided contact, exactly? By not wearing shorts, so that Lenhart couldn’t grab them and pull him into him? Or by not having legs, so Lenhart couldn’t swing his legs into the back of Olave’s?

  52. Ben says:

    Of course, to score in the first minute of stoppage they needed Lenhart to completely take down Schuler so that he couldn’t mark Dawkins. Luckily for SJ, the ref turned a blind eye to that one. Otherwise, it really would have been embarrassing for them.

  53. Aero123 says:

    Very oddly written commentary here: “Replays showed that Olave entered into a fair challenge with Lenhart for the ball until the San Jose forward positioned himself in front of Olave”. In what world has it become “unfair” for a player to position himself in front a another player in order to win a ball? This is bizarre commentary…

  54. JRP says:

    Are you an idiot? It was the sole reason the end goal was not a tie as we lost the league’s best center back and the added stoppage time from the call was where the two goals were scored. It was exactly the sole reason RSL lost. And six minutes of stoppage was a joke as well.

  55. JRP says:

    We will cry into the cup when we carry it home in Nov.

  56. JRP says:

    Yes. There could be no other reason. You have a deep and knowledgeable understanding of the sport and its history.

  57. DCskeptic says:

    I do agree with you, the game is over, but are you kidding me about the appeal? Do you really think any team in the league is going to take MLS up on their ‘red card appeal’ cloak and dagger scheme. MLS has quite literally put up every deterrent possible to keep teams from appealing. They’ll continue to cleverly hide behind their ‘obvious’ requirement, take your $25,000, suspend your player for an additional game, and give you the reminder that you have one more ‘failed’ attempt and you lose appeals for the rest of the season and the next (and probably your first born). The only team that has deep enough pockets and enough MLS execs on their payroll to take this risk is probably LA.

  58. Reading all of these comments, I can’t help but think that RSL stands for Really Sore Losers. Good grief.

    First, anyone saying that Olave was shoulder to shoulder with Lenhart needs a refresher anatomy course. He planted his shoulder in Lenhart’s back at roughly the same time Lenhart tugged Olave’s shorts. As the shorts are pretty loose, there is no way Lenhart pulled Olave into him to create the contact.

    Second,Lenhart did not want to go down to get a free kick outside the box with the RSL wall and keeper all set, he wanted the game winner. It was proven when Lenhart popped right up and took a shot. Your keeper was amazing, a one on one was a far better chance to get the winner than putting you another man down assuming the ref called it.

    Third, for those of you whining about the 6 minutes of stoppage time, get over yourselves. Your team was time wasting every chance you got after Beckerman scored the equalizer. Olave probably took over two minutes just to leave the pitch after the red card. I’m not blaming RSL for the tactic as I’d want the Earthquakes to do the same in that situation. Just pointing out there was a ton of time wasting.

    Fourth, those of you calling for Dawkins to get a red card need to open your freaking eyes and watch the replay again. Dawkins got your player with his heel, not any sort of sweeping motion or anything violent. Your player arched his back as if he’d just been shot, trying to bait the ref into giving a cheap yellow. Be grateful Dawkins got a yellow out of it, but it was nowhere near a red.

    Fifth and finally, RSL probably should have been down another player not long after Olave got the red anyway. Sabobrio, who already had a yellow, took a cheap shot and hit Ike Opara in the gut, sending him down writhing on the ground. It happened right in front of the section I was in. Should have been his second card and he’d have been out.

    Oh, and be careful what you all wish for in the next matchup. Earthquakes were without two starters injured the previous week agains NYRB. Also without our team captain who is a huge part of what we do. Also without Chavez who is a difference maker for us this year. Then add in that Lenhart and Gordon have had strained hamstrings which is why neither was in from the start.

  59. Olave was behind Lenhart. If you can’t see that you are blind.

  60. CMac, while Lenhart may be many things, a physical mutant is not one of them. Olave was behind him and his shoulder hit Lenhart in the back. Lenhart’s shoulder is NOT in the middle of his back.

  61. me says:

    What you’re missing is that Lenhart doesn’t just grab Olave’s shorts but he grabs the far side of Olave’s shorts, instigating the contact. How exactly can Olave avoid contact with Lenhart when Lenhart is literally pulling Olave into his body as he dives to the ground?

    Fernandez got flagged for simulation that did not lead to a red card. Lenhart certainly should get flagged and fined for this disgraceful performance.

  62. JRP says:

    Shocked. Shocked that another SJ fan didn’t see the lack of a foul. SI and Soccer By Ives are the only third-party media that have written anything about it and they both seem to question the call.
    It was questionable.
    San Jose won. Can’t wait for the rematch.

  63. And a forward is supposed to stay in front of the defender behind him in that situation. Like it or now, it’s up to the defender to avoid the contact.

  64. Notice I did not say it was a clear cut foul. But, if the ref called the foul he HAD to give the red card. Also, please see my other points.

  65. d says:

    I thought the comments solicited by Ives were regarding the appeals process and RSL’s decision not to appeal. Why are you all debating the merits (or lack thereof) of the play AGAIN! Aren’t you all sick and tired of going around in circles yet?

  66. RSL Spokesperson says:

    so true Matt – San Jose’s 11 players were better than RSL’s 9… It’s clear that pure talent got San Jose it’s spot atop the WCS.

  67. Georg says:

    Cheap and totally juvenile response of a child

  68. Georg says:

    We will again see who has the better team, Matt you really are a child.

  69. Joamiq says:

    You seem to be uninformed about the laws of the game. A player is allowed to extend his arm. He is not allowed to grab an opponent’s uniform, nor is he allowed to impede an opponent’s progress with his arm. Holding a player, as Lenhart did, is supposed to result in a caution.

    Mere contact is irrelevant. Obviously a player can contact another without committing a foul.

  70. The Kettle says:

    Really Sore Losers? To all Quakes fans asking that RSL fans stop blaming the refs and flopping players, I just wish we could see how you would react if you were in our shoes. Let’s just say that one of our players flopped and cost you the game, say Saborio. I bet you would probably blame that one game for your unsuccessful season, give Saborio some clever nickname, and continue to plague message boards about the injustice of that game for over a year… oh wait

  71. Kettle,
    If you read my entire post I deal with several other things about the game that I consider to be whining from the RSL fans. I get how you’re all upset at the call, but some of the comments here are incredibly myopic.

  72. go usa says:

    I think most “no foul” supporters are missing the point of “shoulder-to-shoulder”. Shoulder-to-shoulder means you are allowed to contact shoulder-to-shoulder when contesting for a 50-50 ball. It does not mean shoulder-to-shoulder contact is fair game in other situations. You cannot hockey check someone at midfield just because it’s shoulder-to-shoulder. Nor can you knock someone down shoulder-to-shoulder in order to reach a ball on the protected side.

    Clearly, in this situation A) the contact is shoulder to back and B) the ball is on the protected side of Lenhart and not reachable by Olave unless Olave knocks him down, which is a foul regardless of shoulder contact.

  73. Neruda says:

    One way of seeing this play is to ask: would a ref (with a clear view) call this a foul at midfield? I’d guess 20% of the time referees would call this a foul. It’s not a shadow of a doubt foul that all refs would instantly agree is a foul. So to call it a red card dramatically reduces the chances of the team on the receiving end of the card being able to compete.

    It’s over now and RSL has a Chris Schuler who would be a big upgrade starter for lots of MLS teams (like NYRB for example). Even if the disciplinary committee does reinstate Olave (improbable) Kreis would still start Schuler in the Wed night match. Also Blas Perez is out for his violent elbow so both Dallas and RSL will be missing starters.

  74. Neruda says:

    That should be lenharts nickname: Cabbage patch

  75. Neruda says:

    I thought the same thing when I read the headline until I read further, which is what you should do next time.

    If you lose an appeal you forfeit money and the player (Olave) is suspended for even more games. Ad to this that there is the disciplinary committee and with two games in the week for RSL and Olave having played all minutes of RSL’s matches it isn’t a bad idea to rest him anyways. I doubt we’ll see any appeals from clubs this year with these deterents in place.

  76. Neruda says:

    Until we have instant replay this is the next best thing.

  77. Brian says:

    LOL. Lenhart is a POS and a sh*t player.

    I’m a Galaxy fan so I’m a netural on this. Should have been a no-call or a foul on Lenhart in my opinion. Olave was running off of Lenhart’s shoulder and he would have gotten past Lenhart if not for Lenhart grabbing Olave’s shorts. Lenhart is fully within his right to extend his arm out and shield the ball, but not to grab Olave and essentially hook him. Lenhart pretty much took Olave to the ground and nearly pantsed him.