Week #20 July 17-21

Crouching Tiger - Slow Assistant

This week we point out how body position can leave you chasing the game, in the case presented, the AR gets into a deep crouch for an offside call, but that left him well behind play for a secondary decision.
A few paragraphs to prepare you for how to react on delayed offside flags when there is a possibility of a collision with the goalkeeper and we keep beating the drum, work rate, work rate, work rate!


it is worthy of repeating, that all decisions made must have a purpose. In non-VAR matches, there is no purpose to delaying a flag when the potential for a collision exists with the goalkeeper. However, in matches where Video Review is used, there now is a purpose. That purpose is to allow for video review should the end result be a goal, penalty kick, and/or red card for DOGSO. .

Since the possibility exists to correct the offside decision of the assistant referee, we must respect that possibility and allow the match to continue.
We understand that a collision can cause increased difficulty with match control, however to disallow a good goal, where the offside flag was raised, is the greater evil.

Bear in mind that players are still responsible for their actions. Without VAR, we try to protect them from themselves somewhat, but with VAR, please delay when an imminent goal scoring opportunity exists.

Finally, a reminder to raise the flag, regardless of the outcome, when you are utilizing VAR delay. There has been an offside offense; all you are doing is delaying the signaling of such.


The PRO assistant referee should be doing their best with each performance. While the course of play will dictate the position that the assistant referee must take, the speed in which the AR gets there is controllable.
Some matches can have us standing at the halfway line for long stretches of time. These periods of inactivity can almost make us sluggish. Therefore, it is best practice to put in a full effort each time the game presents an opportunity to do so. This means going at full or optimal speed to stay in position.
This shows:

  • Professionalism

  • Respect for the game

  • Passion and desire to put forth the best effort for the referee team

  • Willingness to match the intensity that the players put forward to everyone watching

What does this clip say about the AR?
The instruction here will not be complicated. Very simply put, don’t let this be you.


Play within the penalty area is difficult for the assistant referee. Unlike the middle 3rd of the field, there is no long ball option. All we are left with are attackers making quick runs, one of which might eventually have a pass and an offside decision to go along with it.
Take this clip which shows a rather textbook or common attack by a professional team.

  • The red team is advancing the ball, and the black team has their back four near the top of their own penalty area

  • At 42:17 of the game clock the AR sees the attacking run of #9, anticipates play, and prepares for a potential offside decision

  • At 42:18, that pass happens, the AR is focused, and makes the correct not-offside determination

  • The problem is, during this moment of focus, the AR adopts a crouching position

  • Play continues of course, and at 42:20, if we freeze at the moment #9 is striking the ball, we see that the AR is 6 yards out of position.

  • What if this was a square pass? Can the AR make a credible offside decision?

Sequential decisions are the most difficult thing for an AR in the world of offside. Like a Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz track, it’s “On to the next one”, and sometimes immediately so. The players already get a head start, and we have to react as quick as possible.
Reading/Anticipating helps our cause, but we cannot lose time and distance due to poor mechanics.
When the AR crouches in this fashion, it is similar to committing to an “all or nothing” challenge. We must believe that we can judge offside while standing upright, thus giving ourselves the best chance to accelerate towards the next decision. There is even the added bonus of looking better on TV, as 42:18 is not the most “flattering” position for the AR to be captured in.

Winner - MLS Call of the Week #19 - Gjovalin Bori

Bori just squeaks by for the victory.

Bori just squeaks by for the victory.

MLS Call of the Week #20

You know that we favor flag down decisions here in Call of the Week land. This week we feature two of them.
For a second consecutive week Brian Poeschel makes the voting round with his no offside decision in Toronto.
Micheal Barwegen shows how to keep the flag down in Atlanta as this well timed run is rewarded with no offside flag and a goal.

Brian Poeschel

Micheal Barwegen

Who had Call of the Week #20?
Brian Poeschel - Toronto v NY Red Bulls
Micheal Barwegen - Atlanta v DC Unite