MLS Week #33 October 12-17

A shortened Week 33 due to the international break so we added the mid-week games from Week 34 which produced two highlight reel decisions for Call of the Week.
Minnesota v Colorado had a video review which corrected an offside error, so we offer advice to try to avoid it happening again. Was the AR’s line of focus too narrow?
Also, advice is given on how to deal with some free kick offside situations.


This is offside and a situation where the flag usually goes up correctly. The flag staid down and video review was needed to correct the error.
As usual we take a look at the moments leading up to the decision to try and determine why the error was made.
In watching the clip the AR is tightly focused on the second to last defender with good positioning and movement staying right where he needs to be. There even is a slight adjustment just before the moment of truth - the pass. It appears that his focus has narrowed too far fully concentrating on the STLO and has lost track of the ball being played. Right at the moment when the ball is played his peripheral vision is blocked by another attacker (see operator output on clip). By the time he can see the ball again the offside positioned attacker is now onside.
Advice here is to vary your line of focus. As the play builds you should naturally mimic the movement and speed of the defenders which should keep you in line, scanning the field of play. Going back and forth between ball and STLO.
As the play builds there is no immediate threat of an offside decision as no attacker is close to being in offside position so you can scan using the majority of your focus on the attacker with the ball. His actions will determine when the offside threat becomes more likely, so scanning and focusing quickly between the attacker, who by now has moved into an offside position, and that attacker will better let you “feel” when the pass will be made and where your focus needs to be.
It is important that ARs keep moving their focus between ball and second to last defender quickly and to not get caught spending too long on focused on either.


This attacking free kick from Seattle v Houston is a good example of what the AR needs to look at when there is a long line of defenders and attackers. With so many players to have to keep track off the AR needs to be ready to switch who the STLO is. In this clip the AR has found the defender who breaks the line. When this happens the AR can know that all attackers in the line are onside, so if anyone of them breaks out of the pack the flag can stay down.

In the LAFC v Houston match the opposite occurs as an attacker has broken early from the line and is in an offside position at the taking of the kick. This is a more difficult dilemma for the AR as now they must wait until they see the result of the kick.
If the attacker interferes with play the decision is relatively easy. However, in this clip the AR must wait to see if the attacker interferes with the opponent by hindering his movement. The AR is correct in this incident to keep the flag down as you can see that the offside attacker does not interfere and the player who does play the ball was never in an offside position.



week 32.jpg


Jeff Greeson nails a thru ball that leads to a Real Salt Lake goal and Brian Poeschel keeps his flag down on an offside decision that is just too close to raise the flag, both correctly giving benefit of doubt to the attack. In Orlando it certainly looks offside, but the camera angle can be deceptive so we have included the two still images below, to show just how close it was.

ORL v SEA offside 50.jpeg


ORL v SEA offside 50.jpg


Who had Call of the Week #33?
Jeff Greeson - Real Salt Lake v New England
Brian Poeschel - Orlando v Seattle