MLS Week #12 May 18-20

This week we take a look at two offside incidents where PRO assistant referee correctly judged the actions of the defenders as either deliberate or a deflection.   Three excellent offside decisions up for votes in Call of the Week. 


In Toronto a shot is taken that deflects off an onside positioned attacker to a second attacker who is clearly in offside position. However, a defender in between the two attackers makes an attempt to play the ball by throwing his heel towards the ball and touches the ball slightly before it bounces to the offside attacker who scores.  The assistant referee raises his flag for offside. 

The action of the defender is not a deliberate play and it was correct to mark this as an offside infraction.  These are the reasons that make it a deflection and not a deliberate play. 

  • Defender is reacting to an unexpected rebound
  • Defender does not have body control
  • Defender does not have time to make an action
  • Defender does not move towards the ball

All these factors point to the reactive nature of the defender's action and thus it is considered a deflection. 


Also in Toronto an offside situation that features both a deliberate play and a possible interfering with an opponent.   
At the start of the sequence a pass is being made to an attacker who is in a clear offside position.  However a defender plays the ball poorly and that attacker collects the ball, makes a nice thru pass to a second attacker whose shot goes off the bar to a third attacker who scores thru the legs of the previous shooter.  A lot of offside action in one play!   
The easy part is the interfering with an opponent section of the play.  The ball does not touch the attacker that lets it go thru his legs and his actions do not have any impact on an opponent since no one is behind him or near him.  Easy.
In the start of the sequence we have to look at the actions of the defender to determine if it is a deliberate play or not. Here are the reasons that make it a deliberate play.

  • Defender has time to play the ball
  • Defender has distance to play the ball (speed of pass)
  • Defender has body control (balanced and ready to play the ball) as ball is coming towards him. (Notice how he adjust his feet prior to reaching for it)
  • Defender moves towards the ball
  • Defender expects the ball
  • Defender makes a deliberate act to reach for the ball

Additionally, one can add that the attacker has played the ball in an expected manner, in other words, the ball is not coming from a whiff or a miss kick that is more likely to elicit a reaction from a defender.   With all deliberate play situations, the quality of that play is not something that is factored in.   This is a good goal. 


This is NOT an offside infraction.  It is a little deceptive to notice at first but the attacker who is off the field and crosses the ball has received the ball directly from a corner kick and is therefore not offside.   

Is this offside? Corner Kick RSL v COL
No offside

Winner - Call of the Week #11 - Ian Anderson

week 11.jpg


Call of the Week features three excellent decisions that are first look seem to be clearly offside, but no, the freeze frames proves them right.  Who had the most difficult and best decision?  Frank Anderson in Portland who allows Adi in on goal after the defender had stepped up a moment too late. Logan Brown spots the far side attacker as dead even at the moment of the pass and is rewarded with a goal.  Peter Balciunas spots that the Houston attacker is in his own half of the field on the pass that sets the breakaway goal in motion. 




Who had Call of the Week #12?
Frank Anderson - Portland v LAFC
Logan Brown - Vancouver v San Jose
Peter Balciunas - Chicago v Houston