Week #10 May 1-5

This week we take a look at offside positioned attackers at free kicks. You know, the ones stand in a clear offside position and then they might get involved or might not, a real pain.
We will also look at short corners and how to prepare yourself for a possible offside situation. There is also a What Would You Do? with an offside incident in the DC United v Columbus match.
Finally three good choices for Call of the Week #10, I know you’re saying “only three, but there were so many!?” The selection committee did struggle to whittle them down to just the three.


Short corner kick routines

It has become a more frequent occurrence that teams will use a short corner kick routine.  It can often lead to an advantage in numbers out wide, as well as providing a better angle for an upcoming cross. 
Defending teams know this tactic is used but are still hesitant to commit defenders away from their goal.  To compensate, many attempt to create an offside situation with the kicker. 

For assistant referees the key to this decision is to see it coming and be prepared. 

The defensive set-up on this corner kick

The defensive set-up on this corner kick

  • Two attackers on the ball means the possibility of offside exists. 

  • Defenders staying off the posts - instead of beside them is a clue to defender’s tactics. 

  • The attacker taking the corner kick is off the field

Advice: Go thru your corner kick routine every time. Who is your second to last opponent? Is there an immediate offside possibility? Be ready.

Offside positioned attackers at free kicks

First off, the PRO AR does fantastic here to inform the referee about DCU attacker Acosta being in an offside position. He smartly waits until after the referee has set the wall, and well before any whistle.
[The referee might not always get the player moved, however]
Of course, to complicate things, the free kick is taken, the offside positioned attacker did not get himself onside and he moves towards the area of concern. He doesn’t touch the ball, so no interfering with play, but do we have offside offence?

Free kick offside position

Free kick offside position

The ball is too far away to involve any form of challenge for the ball, so the only question to determine an answer to is regarding “making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball”.

Here are some considerations:

  • Did the offside positioned attacker make physical contact with the defender?

  • Did the defender have to alter their course to avoid contact?

  • Did the defender lose the ability to choose to go left vs right?

  • Did the defender lose speed while in pursuit?

  • Was the defender forced to hesitate in their action due to the offside positioned attacker?

Position at the moment of the kick

Position at the moment of the kick

In this case, the defender:

  1. Could drop as far as he wanted to go into his own penalty area unimpeded

  2. Was able to stop, go towards his right to try and head the ball without delay

  3. Did not have to consider the offside positioned attacker as he wasn’t in his way

  4. Had no physical contact with the offside positioned attacker

Upon looking at the considerations, we can conclude that there was no offside offense.

What Would You Do? NY Red Bulls v LA Galaxy

The only angle we are presenting is that of the assistant referee, since this is all we would get to look at in live play.  It is not acceptable to simply state that you have offside position and advocate all responsibility onto the referee.  If we are being honest, referees are not always thinking about offside.  [Shocking I know, but still true]  Thus, the assistant referee must have an opinion.  This is especially important in the world of VAR, since “grey zone” decisions will likely remain unchanged.

What Would You Do? - NYRB v LAG
Offside - Raise Flag
No offside - Goal

Winner - MLS Call of the Week #9 - Chris Elliott

Chris Elliott wins his first MLS Call of the Week ever!

Chris Elliott wins his first MLS Call of the Week ever!

MLS Call of the Week #10

The three best from this week (so we think at the Call of the Week Politburo).
Logan Brown has ATL’s Martinez onside when the shot was taken, so no gaining an advantage here.
Nick Uranga sees the back foot of the defender that is keeping the goalscorer onside, so not interfering with play here.
Jason White flags the attacker offside when he receives a short flicked pass for a tap in at the back post, sorry, no goal here.

Logan Brown

Nick Uranga

Jason White

Who had Call of the Week #10?
Logan Brown - Sporting KC v Atlanta
Nick Uranga - Philadelphia v FC Cincinatti
Jason White - Montreal v NY Football Club