MLS Week #8 April 20-22

PRO Assistant Referees and players pose after completing the field exercises at the AR East Coast training session. 

PRO Assistant Referees and players pose after completing the field exercises at the AR East Coast training session. 

The point of Video Review was to add another team member to the referee crew to keep them from making a clear and obvious error.   This week the reverse happened as the AR assisted the VAR and helped him avoid what could only be seen as a clear, obvious and embarrassing error. All in the name of teamwork.   
There was more good teamwork on display in Salt Lake and Portland and we highlight it this week. Also, a close decision in Montreal leaves us asking, What Should You Do?  


Last week we discussed a play where the AR kept the flag down for a clear offside expecting a goal kick decision only to have to raise the flag late when the referee gave a corner kick.  It created confusion amongst the players. Not the procedure we endorse. 
This week we have a similar situation that was dealt with correctly and it leaves everyone happy.  
At first glance it may be unclear why the AR does not raise the flag for what appears to be an easy offside decision.  However, the AR is unsure of who headed the ball and this is confirmed by the replay where you can see the defender attempt to play the ball right in front of the attacker.  He asks for help from the referee and when the referee tells him it was the attacker, the flag goes up.  Although the goal kick would have had a very similar restart, the referee crew's diligence gives them credibility with the players. This is proper procedure for this type of situation and a good example of referee/AR teamwork in completing the offside puzzle. 


This check of Portland's third goal almost turned into a VAR disaster.  It emphasizes the importance that a decision always be made on the field and that the VAR is part of the referee team.   
You need to watch this clip until the end to understand what happened. (The clip has been edited to shorten it) 
Portland's #14 was standing in what appeared to be an offside position in front of NYFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson when the goal was scored.   Was he interfering with an opponent?  His proximity to the keeper may suggest he was.  The VAR begins to explain to the referee what he sees  and with the check at nearly a minute and a half long, he is moments from sending it to a formal review.  When AR Adam Wienckowski hears the reason for the delay, he reminds the VAR of the defender that was standing next to the 11 yard hash mark when the corner kick was taken.  Using the beauty camera angle, the VAR spots the missing second to last defender and gratefully says check complete. 
Tidy teamwork there. 


First of all, let's assume that the attacker in this clip is in an offside position.  The freeze frame of that moment shows a defender's trailing leg that could be holding the attacker onside.  Too hard to tell from the best angle available.   What we want to know is whether this is an offside offense and the flag should be raised. 

What should you do? - MTL v LAFC
No offside infraction
Offside - raise flag - interfering with an opponent
Offside - no flag - ask referee if interfering - then flag
Offside - stand at corner after goal - ask referee if interfering - then flag
Please Specify:


week 7.jpg


This week's Call of the Week features an offside flag vs an involvement flag.  Which was is better? The offside situation is a classic example of why we insist that you practice the perception tests over and over again.  The attacker should have rewarded AR Cameron Blanchard with a goal, but the keeper makes a save almost as good as the AR's no flag decision. 
The flag for involvement comes from Jonathan Johnson in Real Salt Lake where he spots the goalkeeper blocking the ball with his hand outside the penalty area.  If you are unsure whether the ball hits his hand or not, make sure to watch the clip to the very end where the definitive angle is shown.  
Both great decisions, you get to decide which one was best. 



Who had Call of the Week #8?
Cameron Blanchard - Sporting Kansas City v Vancouver
Jonathan Johnson - Real Salt Lake v Colorado