MLS Week #24 August 11-12

Interfering with Play requires a touch on the ball to make an attacker offside and in Week 24 we had two situations that needed confirmation from the referee before the AR could either raise the flag to confirm offside or keep it down to allow a game winning goal. 
These clips contain good audio worth listening too, which begs the question, Can we communicate better?   
Our answer for our friend in Greece and another three great decisions for Call of the Week.


With the game winding down and the score even a difficult offside decision resulted in the game winning goal.  It created quite a bit of controversy in certain circles where they may not fully grasp how to interpret interfering with an opponent.
Under the current wording of the Laws of the Game, the way in which they are currently interpreted and how guidance is given universally on this type of play, the decision to allow the goal was 100% correct.

We know that interfering with play in the Laws of the game has a quite tight definition and only refers to when the player in the offside position touches or plays the ball.  In Columbus, after looking at every angle possible, CLB Mullins does not touch the ball. 

It is the interfering with an opponent that undoubtedly is most subjective area of offside interpretation. Within this section relating to ‘interfering with an opponent’, it is broken down into 4 subsections, and the player in the offside position is only penalized if he does one of these things.

  • Obstructing the line of sight of an opponent which clearly impacts the opponent’s ability to play the ball.
  • Challenging an opponent for the ball 
  • Attempting to play a ball which is close to the offside player which impacts an opponent
  • Making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball 

So, when you look at the above, Mullins none of the above fit.  He didn’t obstruct the line of sight of any defender or the goalkeeper, he didn’t challenge an opponent for the ball (the opponents were some distance away), although he tried to play a ball which was close to him this didn’t impact an opponent (the defenders were several yards behind and weren’t impacted, and because he was some distance from goal he didn’t impact the goalkeeper) and he didn’t make an obvious action which impacted the ability of an opponent to play the ball (he didn’t close a defender down who was about to play the ball).

Some argued that because Mullins had attempted to play the ball it had impacted the goalkeeper’s positioning, but realistically both he and Zardes were a distance from goal which meant that in all likelihood the goalkeeper’s positioning would have been the same whether Mullins was there or not.

If the Laws of the Game were written differently, and stated that any player who attempted to play the ball while in an offside position will be penalized, it would make our lives so much easier because then we wouldn’t have to try to factor in whether an opponent had been impacted,  but under current thinking, this was very much a good goal.


In Colorado v San Jose the AR needed to confirm the touch by an offside attacker that deflected a shot.  This was good patience, especially if from the AR's angle he cannot clearly tell if the ball actually hit the attacker.
Before raising the flag, he ask the referee to confirm that the ball hit the player, once he does, he correctly raises the flag.  Now that that has happened the VAR can check the footage to confirm  and check complete the decision.  The communication on this clip is pretty good, only recommendation would be for others to quiet up so that referee, AR2 and VAR can all speak in calm voices. 
Listen to the clip with the volume up.


This is offside, in PRO's opinion. As was stated in the comment section, there is only one thing to consider on this play, did the attacker interfere with an opponent.  
There are several factors that contribute to this being offside.

What Would You Do? - aOK v AEK
Offside - Interfering with an Opponent
Offside - Interfering with Play
No Offside

Attempting to play a ball - which can also mean attempting to avoid the ball.  This action has to been taken into consideration by the defenders and goalkeeper. If you will, this is the obvious action that impacts an opponent.  Both the near defender and goalkeeper's actions are efforts to deny this player the ball and as such must be considered to have had impact.
In most cases, a player at the back post does not impact the keeper as they usually don't even know that they are there.  However, this attacker comes from the front in a way where the goalkeeper has to attempt to prevent him from playing the ball. 

Of course, this would have been so much easier if he had just plain touched the ball. 

WINNER - CALL OF THE WEEK #23 - Kyle Atkins



Three good decisions are the choices for Call of the Week #24.  Of course, one of them has to be the decision in Columbus which we highlighted earlier.  Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho made this decision. 
Kyle Longville keeps his flag down on this tight decision that is made more difficult by having the second to last defender on the far side of the field. 
Brian Poeschel keeps his flag down on a well timed run that results in a nicely taken goal. 




Who had Call of the Week #24?
Kyle Longville - Los Angeles Galaxy v Minnesota
Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho - Columbus v Houston
Brian Poeschel - DC United v Orlando