MLS Week #32 October 6-7

Katy Nesbitt and Felisha Mariscal representing PRO ARs at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship.

Katy Nesbitt and Felisha Mariscal representing PRO ARs at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship.

Three plays to check in Week 32. First, an AR picks the wrong moment to relax which results in an offside error in Atlanta, that also could have used a delayed flag. Another reminder to delay the flag for close offside decisions and good communication between referee and assistant results in a correct decision.



Whenever there is a mistake with offside it is worth looking at what was happening a few seconds before the decision.
You need to watch this clip in its entirety to see where the AR takes a moment to relax, lets his guard down and is then caught by surprise and left just enough out of position to not see the defender step up too late.

no delay graphic.jpeg

Unfortunately the AR took the wrong moment to relax, as he did not read the play correctly and was not able to anticipate the danger. Even though the defense had regained the ball, they were not in good position to move the ball out. Six attackers where pressing four defenders which made the likelihood of them losing the ball high. Once they did lose the ball the attack was always going to be immediate and the AR did not have enough time to be in the right position to make the call.
Previously we have asked ARs to remain vigilant whenever they have an attacker behind the STLO and advice here is to keep the same level of attention and work rate when the attacking team is pressing with numbers regardless of who is in possession of the ball.

Although this is in the grey area of a delayed flag it would be supported as the attacker receives the ball with an immediate attack as his only option and is headed directly towards goal.


Only a minute into the Atlanta v New England match there was a reminder to delay the flag on tight offside decisions that create a clear immediate attacking situation. Even with this play starting on the left, the movement is always going directly towards goal, with the attacker having a choice between a shot or a pass to an open team mate.
Of course, we always like when the offside decision is correct in the first place.


It has been awhile since we have had a good offside situation where the referee and assistant communicated well to make a correct decision. In Montreal, the assistant has the attacker in an onside position on the cross, but there was a possibility of a second touch that he could not see clearly. At that point the attacker had moved into an offside position and once the referee confirmed that there was a touch, the flag went up.
As you can see in the clip, the second touch is not all that clear, but the referee is perfectly positioned to spot it.


This is offside. LAFC #12 challenges for the ball from an offside position. Some of you considered that the actions by CHI #31 Schweinsteiger was a deliberate play, negating any offside infraction. You are correct, he took two steps towards the ball and is in control of his body which in many ways defines deliberate play. However, the actions of LAFC #12 of moving towards the ball before any deliberate play, is a challenge for the ball.
Challenging for the ball usually entails three elements:

  1. Playing Distance

  2. Attempting to play the ball

  3. Action that has impact on opponent.

The moment the ball was played forward #12 moved towards the ball in an attempt to play the ball, he was within playing distance and his actions had an impact on CHI #31.
Considerations used in this situation:

  • A player in offside position…interferes with an opponent by:

    • Challenging an opponent for the ball

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




Choose between Corey Parker who correctly sees DC Rooney onside and Andrew Bigelow who does the same for young ATL attacker Bello, both score.



Who had Call of the Week #32?
Corey Parker - DC United v Chicago
Andrew Bigelow - Atlanta v New England