Week #7 April 12-14

This week we highlight some really strong work done by Felisha Mariscal, Andrew Bigelow and Ian Anderson who had matches with multiple decisions that had a clear impact on the outcome of the match. The all showed good focus and concentration for the full 90.
We will look at a poor decision in Dallas that had a fortunate outcome. We ask the question, how can we avoid this happening again?
Just to show you how up-to-date the report is, we will present a What Should You Do? question on a potential interfering with an opponent that occurred in the FC Cincinnati v Real Sal Lake from Friday night.
Finally, as always, some really really good decisions selected from the many that were made in Week 7 of the MLS season for Call of the Week.


Delayed Flag (or Not) leading to a Penalty Kick

Sound On

Minnesota vs NYCFC

This play had a few interesting twists.  In an attempt to be clear and concise, we will address this one in a Question & Answer format.

40:06 on clock

Q: Is this a situation where the AR should implement VAR delay?

A: Yes.  The ball is passed in between the left fullback and left center back.  The offside positioned attacker starts wide but is cutting in towards goal.  It is fair to say that a goal scoring opportunity is imminent at this very second.  Admittedly, the audio gets cut, but it sounds as if the AR says “Delay”.  We’ll give benefit of the doubt, as this would be the best practice

40:08 on clock

Q: The attacker takes a poor touch into the left center back.  Is this the moment where I should kill the action and call offside?

A: Yes.  At this second, the imminent goal scoring opportunity is interrupted.  The AR should raise the flag at this moment and say “offside” over the radio.

40:09 on clock

Q: When going into the tackle, the left center back plays a poor ball towards his own goal and falls to the ground.  The AR is saying “off off off” but doesn’t raise the flag.  At the same time, the referee is saying “defender defender”.  What should the AR do?

A: Normally when a referee says “defender defender”, it means keep the flag down.  Normally, when the AR is saying “off off off”, a flag should be in the air already.  Far from ideal, but we managed to get to a place of doubt.  The AR’s body language suggests this as well.  Doubt means keep the flag down.

40:11 on clock

Q: The AR manages to say “delay delay delay” just before the penalty kick is awarded by the referee.  Could this have been done much better?

A: Quite a bit happened where we started using VAR delay, decided to kill the action (but didn’t), then went back to implementing VAR delay just before the penalty kick award.  While it is a lot to take in, the AR must say “delay delay delay” as quickly as possible.  This gives the referee every opportunity to point out that offside is being given (and should the offside be wrong we will have a penalty kick).  We can make this sequence look a lot smoother when the whistle does eventually get blown.  Every ½ second counts!


No Offside in Dallas

Sound on

FC Dallas vs Portland 9th minute

A lot of times it’s better to be lucky than good, but luck can’t be relied upon.  With this incident, we were extremely lucky.  Multiple errors somehow resulted with the correct outcome.  This clip being highlighted is not to pick on those involved, but rather to highlight issues that must not be repeated

Q: Is this a situation where the AR should implement VAR delay?

A: Had the attacker been in an offside position, then yes, this situation would meet the VAR delay criteria.  However, it must be clear that VAR delay may only be implemented when you KNOW the situation is offside.  At best, the AR should have been in the “doubt” range for this incident.  Doubt means the flag stays down.  Doubt means don’t raise the flag at the beginning, don’t raise the flag at the end. 

Q: The decision the field was a goal despite a flag being in the air.  Was this a deliberate play, or a rebound?

A: This was a rebound off the Portland player.  The ball goes off the defending player’s left shin from a single yard away.  There was zero time available to the defending player, and there was no way for him to control where the ball went. This is a clear deflection.

Q: For an offside offence, is there ever a time when the kick point would be when a defending player last touched or played the ball?

A: Never.  Offside position is only judged when the ball was last touched by an attacking teammate.  If there is a deliberate play by a defender, offside position becomes irrelevant. For deliberate play or deflection to be considered you must have an attacker in an offside position when last touched by a teammate. In this sequence there is never a moment when an attacker is in offside position.

Q: Does the AVAR share responsibility in this situation?

A: Yes.  We are a refereeing team.  Both on the field, and in the VOR.  If the referee on the field is about to commit a technical mistake, we would expect the Assistant Referee to intervene.  In this case, the VAR is making a technical error by setting the kick point on the wrong team’s player.  The AVAR must point out this error to the VAR.  If the AVAR knew it was not offside regardless of the kick point issue, we would still want that said out loud.  Articulating your points makes the VAR’s job that much easier.

What Would You Do?
FC Cincinnati v Real Salt Lake

What would you do on this goal scored by Real Salt Lake. Do you have an offside offence?

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

Winner - MLS Call of the Week #6 - Jeremy Kieso

Jeremy Kieso wins in Week 6

Jeremy Kieso wins in Week 6

MLS Call of the Week #7

First of all, it was a difficult week to narrow it down to just three decisions. There were many more, but the Call of the Week committee felt that these three were the top of the bunch.
Felisha Mariscal keeps her flag down for a tight decision right in front of her that results in a nice Minnesota goal.
Andrew Bigelow had several major decision in his match, with this one being one of the best. Correct close offside decision with a perfectly executed delayed offside flag.
Ian Anderson has a tough decision when the second to last defender and the attacker are separated by distance and it is a perfectly timed run.

Felisha Mariscal

Andrew Bigelow

Ian Anderson

Who had Call of the Week #7?
Felisha Mariscal - Minnesota v NY Football Club
Andrew Bigelow - Sporting KC v NY Red Bulls
Ian Anderson - Sporting KC v NY Red Bulls