MLS Week #19 July 3-8


Week 19 and the end of the World Cup with PRO AR  Joe Fletcher acting as AVAR in the match for third place.  Naturally, he is smiling. 
This week we highlight a pair of boundary line decision with emphasis that you cannot guess on these situations.  Three slightly different VAR delay incidents to look at as well continue to improve in this slight change in procedure.  Check out the Call of the Week section also as one of the three choices shows good awareness tied with correct movement and positioning. 



Two boundary line decision this week, which serve as a reminder that assistant referees should not guess on whether the ball has wholly crossed the line.  Sometimes it is an impossible task to get in position on the goal line to make the right decision.  Although every expectation is that your work rate and speed will get you close.
In Vancouver the AR is either on the line or very close (unfortunately he is off the screen at that moment), but the goalkeeper's body is obscuring the view of the ball.  Keep the flag down, it is just too close for the AR to make a decision. 

In LA it is the attacker's body that blocks the view of the ball as it crosses the line and the AR is not on the end line, but a step short. (Unfortunately off the screen) Again, no way for him to make a credible decision and he correctly does not raise his flag.  
In this case the VAR does intervene, as it appears on the zoomed in close up that the ball has crossed the line.  A review is recommended and the goal is rescinded. 

lag v clb 2.jpeg
lag v clb 1.jpeg

Advice on these very close decisions is too only act if you are in a credible position to do so. In both these cases the assistant referees were close to being there, but because their view was blocked, correctly did not guess. 


Three incidents this week that we highlight to keep emphasizing the VAR delay in the flag for offside.  As a reminder this delay is for offside decisions that are close where an immediate goal scoring opportunity is available to the attacker. The closer to goal, the more likely the delay is needed.  The flag is expected at the shot or if the goal scoring opportunity doesn't materialize or before any resulting penalty or corner kick. 

Philadelphia creates a goal scoring opportunity with a nicely time thru ball to an attacker who has created a very tight offside decision.  The keeper makes the save, but if a goal had been scored it could not be reviewed as the whistle went early as a reaction to the AR's flag.  On replay you can see that it actually was not offside as the back foot of the defender kept the attacker on. Delaying the flag is not easy as it goes against all the traditional training you have had, but now we are in the VAR era. 

This flag is done right.  There is offside on the free kick, however the AR does well to patiently wait until the header is taken before raising the flag. 



In this incident in LA Galaxy v DC United the assistant referee does well to delay the flag until the header, however it is the referee's whistle that goes too early as he should allow the resulting rebound to be shot towards goal so the play could be reviewed.  The replay shows that this offside decision was very close and benefit of doubt should be given to the attack here.  Also, if you were wondering, if this play had gone to a review it would not have been changed as it is not a clear and obvious offside error. 


This is not offside. The attacker who is in an offside position does not challenge for the ball and is just continuing his run.  The defender, under no pressure, takes several steps towards the ball and deliberately plays it.  It is a poor play which allows the attacker to then challenge for the ball. 

What should you do? - SJ v LA
No Offside - No flag
Offside - Flag




There were 3 great decision to start out July -
 Apolinar Mariscal's decision at LA Galaxy v DC United is especially noteworthy for not losing concentration and keeping square to the field with a slow returning attacker in the penalty area. This is following previous instructions about not turning upfield too soon. 
Peter Balciunas in Montreal has a tight decision on a shot where there is a "save" by a defender before the ball trickles to the back post for an easy goal by an attacker who appeared to be in offside position on the shot.  However, the angle behind the goal shows him even with the outstretched leg of the STLO.
Craig Lowry has onside on Houston's third goal versus Minnesota when the far defender keeps the attacker on. 

Apolinar Mariscal



Who had Call of the Week #19?
Apolinar Mariscal - LA Galaxy v DC United
Peter Balciunas - Montreal Impact v Colorado Rapids
Craig Lowry - Houston v Minnesota