We don't often talk about concentration, because it is pretty much expected at the top level. Identify who last played the ball - defender or attacker - can be difficult sometimes and the help of the referee can be a deciding factor whether the flag goes up or not. We had two situations this week where defenders made deliberate plays on the ball. In Minnesota v Chicago a goal is correctly given, in Philadelphia v Columbus, well, not sure what happened, but it could have been disastrous.
Chicago's attack seems to have been broken up by the Minnesota defense, but in the end they bungle their way with a deliberate play that ends up deflecting the ball to an offside positioned attacker whose first shot is saved only to be shot in by a second attacker. Communication from the referee helped make this an easier decision for AR Felisha Mariscal. "Defender, Defender, Defender" (actually maybe about 5 more of them) over the comm system made it clear who last played the ball. This is good communication and concentration on not popping the flag too quickly.
Philadelphia v Columbus had a different result and it has to come down to poor communication and a loss of concentration. Fortunately nothing comes of this play. The ball is clearly played back (poorly, for sure) by a defender and an offside positioned attacker makes a run at the ball only for the flag to go up and a whistle blown to stop the play. If, in this case the AR was not able to identify who last played the ball, they should hold down the flag and get confirmation from the referee before calling offside. The referee, who is looking at this play, should be able to identify the defender as deliberately playing the ball and even if he does not help the AR with "defender", he should know that there is no possibility of offside and wave them down. This play could have turn into a disaster if the ball had gone directly to the attacker who would be in on goal.
COMING BACK TO THE BALL IN REAL SALT LAKE
A good spot for offside - coming back to the ball - which takes a bit of extra concentration happened in Real Salt Lake who think they have scored a goal. Mike Kampmeinert spots the attacker in offside position on the pass and calmly waits for him to play the ball, - just in case he lets the ball go to his team mate. A good example of concentration and patience with the flag for a correct offside decision.
WINNER - CALL OF THE WEEK #2
CALL OF THE WEEK #3
Top PRO assistant referee know about the Flash Lag effect and how it can make a player appear to be offside position when in fact they're not. It is one of the reasons that PRO assistant regularly take perception tests to counter act the effect. This week's Call of the Week shows two excellent decision where the attacker appears to be several yards offside, but in fact were not.
Adam Garner is Flash Lag candidate number 1 where in Atlanta this midfield pass is about as tight as you can get.
Apolinar Mariscal, in Dallas v Seattle spots the far defender stepping up - a step to late.
Which one had the more difficult decision? Pick your winner.