MLS Week #34 October 21

Joe Fletcher and Frank Anderson representing Canada, USA and PRO assistant referees in South Korea for the AFC Champions League Semi-final between Suwon Samsung v Kashima Antlers. Anyone else want to bring back the fuchsia uniforms?

Joe Fletcher and Frank Anderson representing Canada, USA and PRO assistant referees in South Korea for the AFC Champions League Semi-final between Suwon Samsung v Kashima Antlers. Anyone else want to bring back the fuchsia uniforms?

The penultimate weekend of the regular season produced an offside situation from a free kick that had elements of interfering with an opponent and gaining an advantage. Was the right call made and What Would You Do? all into one incident.
Video review overturned an offside flag in Real Salt Lake, could the flag have stayed down in the first place?
We also look at two correct delayed flags and give advice on when is the right time to raise the flag once the immediate scoring opportunity is completed.
Two quality decision for Call of the Week #34.



Wayne Rooney’s arrival has certainly reinvigorated DC United and he has scored several goals from set pieces. This past weekend DC United had a free kick where a team mate placed himself in an offside position before Rooney took a long range shot. That player was eventually flagged for offside for gaining an advantage when he scored off the goalkeeper’s parry. However, watch the clip. Was this a case of interfering with an opponent by blocking their line of vision that should have been flagged the moment the shot was taken?
We will provide PRO’s answer next week to give all of you a chance to express your opinion in the poll. In the meantime if this situation happens in your next match, be as proactive as possible. Tell the referee the player is in an offside position and that he needs to be warned that he could be called for offside if he stays in that position. Keep your game simple, set the player up, so that if you have to call offside, he had been warned.
Watch the clip, wouldn’t it be so much easier if that player was not in an offside position with the possible line of vision issues he was creating?

What Would You Do? - DC v NYFC
Offside - Interfering with an Opponent
Offside - Interfering with Play
Offside - Gaining an advantage
No offside


Video review was correctly involved in overturning this given offside decision in Real Salt Lake. Fortunately there just happened to be a perfectly aligned camera to show us that the attacker that scored clearly was not ahead of the second to last defender.
As with all these situations we look to see why the error was made in the first place and try to offer solutions so it will not happen again.

RSL v NE freeze.jpeg

The assistant referee is in good position and that is what got him in trouble. His position, even with the second to last defender, means he is blocked from seeing the attacker who scores. Look at the reverse image of the moment the ball is headed, you can see all the players except the poor AR - his line of vision blocked by two defenders and two attackers.
When this happens you need to trust your instincts. Knowing that your line of vision is being blocked by defenders, one of whom has to be the second to last defender, and then all of a sudden an attacker “appears” at the back post means that that attacker was more likely than not to have been onside, since at minimum, they were even (and blocked from your view) with the second to last defender. Of course, this is not an easy thing to do, but if you do not know the position of the attacker at the moment of the pass, then you should not raise the flag.
Looking thru this line of defenders and attackers the AR must have had doubts about the onside or offside position of the attacker, since he could not see him. This doubt has to be given to the attack and you will be rewarded with a correct decision in the end.


A very good delayed flag in Minnesota by Jeremy Hanson has to be given a shout out. The offside is close (but ultimately correct) the attacker is immediately moving towards goal with a clear immediate scoring opportunity. The AR has correctly vocalized the delay to let the referee know he is intentionally keeping the flag down.
Minnesota does score and the flag correctly goes up with the ball in the net. After a quick check by the VAR the offside is confirmed and play is restarted with an IDFK.


Another correct delayed offside flag in Minnesota created a dilemma of when to raise the flag. This time the delayed flag was leading to a possible penalty kick. The AR had correctly let the referee know he was delaying the flag and the scoring opportunity was clear and immediate. The dilemma was created when the Minnesota keeper gathered up the ball and went to start a counter attack. The referee gives a look to the AR recognizing that he had a delayed flag situation but allows play to continue.
Should the AR raise the flag or let play continue?
The AR should raise the flag.
The AR should raise the flag in this incident at the moment the goal keeper gathers the ball as that is the moment that the scoring opportunity ended. This then gives the referee a choice, either to stop play or say thank you very much and wave down the flag.
Remember this is not a “wait and see” situation but rather an offside with a delayed flag. In “wait and see” the offside may never materialize and there would never be a flag, with delayed flag it is only the flag that is being waited on, but there will always be a flag.
The reasoning behind raising the flag here is to also show players, staff and fans that there was an offside decision that would have negated any penalty kick. With the referee having the option to use the flag waved down as a way to quell dissent or if he feels it is best to just stop the match.



week 33.jpg


Corey Parker makes an excellent no offside decision near midfield that allowed MTL Piatti straight in on goal, but he wasted the chance by not scoring. Cameron Blanchard keeps the flag down for Chicago’s goal in Atlanta when the ball pops off the attacker’s foot to a team mate who was even with the ball. Both are good decisions.



Who had Call of the Week #34?
Corey Parker - Montreal v Toronto
Cameron Blanchard - Atlanta v Chicago