MLS Week #9 April 27-29

PRO Assistant Referees going thru the FIFA ARIET test.

PRO Assistant Referees going thru the FIFA ARIET test.

A tough week  in the AR ranks with 2 decision being corrected thru VR and another one sort-of corrected (See NE v SKC).  These were clear and obvious errors in offside. There were also many very good and tight decisions in many games, but as tends to be the case, these are overshadowed by the two. 
One thing should be clear, support will be there if benefit of doubt is given to the attack on close decisions.  
We saw several instances where ARs delayed the flag allowing VR to come in to play. One of them (had it been a clear and obvious error) would have led to a penalty kick.
Finally, there was a good offside situation that saved the day for the referee, had it not been offside the resulting goal should not have counted. 


With VAR in the mix, we want flags to be held down until the shot is taken at certain times.  This is new instruction and may take you awhile to get it spot on.  However, even with a delayed flag, the ultimate outcome is to make the correct decision.
If you have offside, you have offside.  That doesn't change.  You will raise the flag. 
If you have doubt, then you don't have offside and the flag will still stay down. 
What we are talking about is when you raise the flag if you have offside. 
This new instructions is meant for offside situations where the attacker will have a clear  opportunity on goal.  Which means the incident will most likely be close to or inside the penalty area. 
Watch the situation in New England which begs for a slower delayed flag.   The referee could have had time to say "defender" before the flag was raised and the goal would have been scored without the players slowing down on seeing the flag. (Something they shouldn't do, but we know that they do.)  On this incident we want to see the flag at the moment the shot is taken. 
This play was able to go a review because the referee did not blow the whistle until after the ball was in the net and the goal was correctly given. 


This clip shows an assistant delaying the flag to not kill the attacking opportunity so that VR can come into play - should it be wrong. (It wasn't.)  This play has some of the elements we are looking for in delaying the flag. 

  • The attacker has broken past the defensive line.  
  • The offside decision is tight
  • A clear shot should result

If this offside decision had been wrong, the result would have been a penalty kick due to the goalkeeper's foul.  This is difficult for the AR to do because it is a break from past training and the resulting collision is something that we have encouraged a quicker flag to avoid.  Look for these sign when deciding to delay the flag.

  • Attacker has a free run at goal
  • Very good scoring position/opportunity
  • Moving directly towards the goal
  • Potential DOGSO situations

If the offside is very clear, go with the flag as normal.  We are only talking about tight decision and you will still show your decision in the end. (flag/no flag)


Watch closely to see the problem with the kickoff of this match.  Fortunately the assistant referee spots a clear offside decision a moment later and play stops.  Who would be to blame if this were not offside and a goal results?  This type of situation does not fit in the protocol for Video Review since it is a restart.  


This is offside - interfering with an opponent by challenging for the ball.  The attacker makes a clear play on the ball forcing the goalkeeper to come out and play the ball. This action can be seen by the assistant referee and he should not need the referee to confirm the interfering.  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:


This goal was allowed to stand in Toronto v Chicago. What would you do?  Call offside or let it go? PRO's answer next week.

What Would you do? - TOR v CHI
No offside infraction - Goal is good
Offside - interfering with an opponent
Offside - interfering with an opponent
Please Specify:

WINNER - CALL OF THE WEEK #8 -Jonathan Johnson

week 8.jpg


Call of the Week features very tight offside decision in Atlanta that we want to reward because the benefit of doubt is given to the attack.  The second choice is a long pass that also has a player even with the second to last opponent and the flag stays down.  Both plays end in goals.  Jason White and Corey Parker are the featured assistant referees. 



Who had Call of the Week #9?
Corey Parker - Colorado v Orlando
Jason White - Atlanta v Montreal