MLS Week #31 September 26-30

This week we will highlight two incidents where the assistant referee got involved with decisions on the field that no one noticed. Did they do it correctly or were they over involved?
The answer for last week’s What Should You Do? with a new situation for you to evaluate from the Chicago v Los Angeles Football Club match. Plus three gems to decide between for Call of the Week.


NY Red Bulls v Atlanta was the marquee match up of Week 31. The referee awarded a penalty kick to NYRB for a foul by ATL goalkeeper Brad Guzan on NYRB's Alex Muyl. However, as soon as he had blown the whistle, AR 1 communicated to the referee that Guzan had played the ball and that, in his opinion, this should not have been given as a penalty kick. If you watch the clip to the end, the last angle is very similar to what the AR 1 would have seen. AR 2’s view is blocked by the bodies of the players yet he also felt that the goalkeeper had played the ball first and not committed a foul. Since both ARs are at some distance from the incident (especially AR 1) and it did not happen in their normal area of control, a flag would not be wanted. The ARs are correct to offer an opinion without raising the flag.
The referee also sensed he had made an error and therefore reversed the initial call and awarded a drop-ball re-start. Most had assumed that it was the VAR who had recommended a review to change the decision. The was not the case.
Even in the world of video review, it is important that referees and assistants make their original decisions as if there was no VAR and then once made, remember there is a VAR. This is actually part of the protocol. Thus, although our two ARs could have stood by quietly and allowed the VAR to step in to correct the referee’s error, they were correct to intervene with their opinions right away. Although unlikely, there is always the possibility of a technical breakdown with the video review process. Additionally, the referee always has the option of sending the play into review and checking the footage himself in the RRA to double check that the correct final outcome was being achieved

In the run up to a goal in Columbus v Philadelphia there was a pushing foul by PHI's Cory Burke on CLB's Lalas Abubakar. Burke pushed his hand into the upper chest of Abubakar as they both moved towards a dropping ball. The action caused Abubakar to fall to the floor, allowing Burke a free run with the ball, which he then crossed before it was turned into his own goal by Mensah.

When the foul occurred, AR 1, who had a good angle of view to see the push, communicated to the referee that she had a foul without raising the flag. The referee who is equidistant to the incident and has a good line of vision, immediately says No, No, clearly indicating that he can see the incident and does not want the AR to get involved.
Once the goal was scored it opened up the play for the VAR to intervene and he recommend a review to correct the error, which after the referee looked at the footage in the RRA, awarded a direct free kick to CLB.
The AR in this case followed prescribed procedures. She had a better angle of view than the referee but also correctly noticed that the referee had enough proximity to see the incident. That being the case it was better that she communicate foul without raising the flag, allowing the referee to make the final decision as the foul contact was not clearly in her area of control. However, on this foul, her angle of view was better than the referee’s proximity.


This is offside - interfering with an opponent. (Those of you who answered Interfering with Play - What planet are you from?)
Two main reasons this is offside and the flag should be raised.
1. TOR Bradley is without a doubt in an offside position when the ball is played and 2. NYRB Adams has to adjust his defensive movements to get around Bradley to defend.
There may or may not be contact between Adams and Bradley, but it is clear the Adam’s movement was hindered by Bradley.
Considerations for Interfering with an Opponent:

  • Line of Vision

  • Challenging

    • Clear Attempt to play / clear action

    • Impact opponent / impact ability

    • Hindering / delaying / preventing

What Would You Do? - NYRB v TOR
Offside - Interfering with an Opponent - Raise the flag
Offside - Interfering with Play - Raise the flag
No Offside


Is this an offside offence? What would you do?

What Would You Do? - CHI v LAFC
Offside - Interfering with an Opponent - Raise the flag
Offside - Interfering with Play - Raise the flag
Offside - Gaining an advantage - Raise the flag
No Offside -Deliberate play by defender - No flag
No offside - Attacker never played the ball


week 30.jpg


Good luck picking a winner this week. Three really excellent decisions.
Corey Parker in NYRB v ATL keeps the flag down on a play that looks very similar to our instant feedback exercises.
CJ Morgante correctly judges the onside position of the attacker after a flick puts him in on goal in Chicago.
Gianni Facchini allows play to continue on what first looks to be clearly offside, but it is not.




Who had Call of the Week #31?
Corey Parker - NY Red Bulls v Atlanta
CJ Morgante - Chicago v Los Angeles Football Club
Gianni Facchini - Chicago v New England