This week we are looking at VAR Delay, and more specifically the movement that is required to make it happen. Additionally, we will point out the difference between VAR delay and "Wait and See”.
Three really fine choices for Call of the Week, all of them highlight very good movement by PRO assistant referees.
Delayed Flag and Distance
Let’s begin by saying, by & large, the PRO assistant referees are showing great progress with VAR Delay. When play is within the penalty area, or the attack begins closer to the penalty area, the decisions on when to implement VAR Delay have been very good. Where there has been a bit more of a struggle, is when the play begins with a pass in behind the defense, often coming from distance.
Long balls provide a unique set of problems.
Distance at the beginning seems great, but once the attacker gets that first touch, they are often in or entering the penalty area.
Direction becomes tougher to determine because the AR must judge the flight of the ball and where the attacker is running to get it. Turf vs grass fields can play a part as well.
Time will certainly be on the longer side of the 3 second guidance, but a long ball where the attacker gets a breakaway is quite probably an imminent goal scoring opportunity
The attacker is at speed, often now in behind the defenders
The only way for the AR to deal with the long ball is to KEEP RUNNING WITH PLAY.
Vancouver v Philadelphia
VAR delay should be used.
The pass comes from the halfway line.
Yet the attacker’s first touch is just beside the penalty arc
The attacker is in behind the defenders running at goal
This is a case where VAR Delay should have been implemented. Thankfully, the PRO AR’s decision was correct, but we must do our best to respect the VAR Delay procedure the teams are beginning to expect.
LA Galaxy v Real Salt Lake
VAR Delay flag too early
The pass comes from 2-3 yards inside of the halfway line
Yet the attacker’s first touch is inside the penalty arc
The attacker is 1v1 with the goalkeeper, and we have an inside-outside the penalty area decision
This is a case where VAR Delay should be implemented.
The AR says “He’s off” 5 times, (He is correct, he was offside and this is a VAR Delay situation), but the referee rightly holds the whistle and then after the foul the AR says “Outside” 8 times. (Correct again). The flag went up too early, before the foul had occurred.
Now imagine this foul was closer to the penalty area line? The AR is 14 yards out of position because he stopped running to flag offside. He would not be in a position to make a credible decision.
Advice: The AR should keep his run and say “Delay, Delay, Delay” instead of “He’s off.” The proper timing for the flag on this incident would be immediately after the foul by the goalkeeper.
Side note: There are those that might comment that the early flag here prevents the collision or challenge with the goalkeeper. In Non-VAR matches, that would still be the instruction, however the ability to correct an offside decision through VAR takes precedence. Players are responsible for their actions, and had the challenge been reckless or worse, the misconduct would still stand along with the offside decision.
NYFC v Chicago
VAR Delay with good movement
The pass comes from ten yards inside the halfway line, but from out wide
The attacker’s first touch is inside the penalty area, in behind the defenders
There is a second offside decision to be made within the penalty area
This VAR delayed flag is very well done from one of the newer PRO assistant referees. By keeping his movement after saying “Delay”, he is able to make the second offside decision from a credible position.
Oh, and for those keeping score at home, the offside decision by the PRO AR was correct yet again.
NY Red Bulls v FC Cincinnati
Not offside - Wait and See
This clip has been included for two purposes:
To clearly establish the difference between Wait & See and VAR Delay
VAR Delay – you know 100% that you have offside and are just delaying the signal.
Wait & See – the offside positioned attacker has yet to become involved in play, so you don’t know if an offside offense has been committed yet. Hence the waiting until it happens or doesn’t happen.
2. The need for an “all-out-every-bit-of-speed-and-effort-you-possess” in those horrible situations where the AR falls way behind play as happened in this clip. There must be Maximum Speed to regain position, not 80%, not 90%, but maximum speed. Avoid the very common pitfall of “slowing down to think”.
Advice: This is a clear wait and see incident. We will continue to emphasize that there is rarely a need for a quick flag. Take a moment to analyze your decision, put your flag up when you’re confident and ready. There are no rewards for the quickest flag, just correct ones.
Winner - MLS Call of the Week #8 - Eduardo Mariscal
MLS Call of the Week #9
This week’s candidates come from the newer crop of PRO assistant referees. First, because we like how well the VAR delay was done, Gjovalin Bori gets a nod for his work in NYFC v Chicago.
The second choice highlights not only a very good offside decision, but you have to appreciate the excellent movement as Jose DaSilva puts himself in perfect position to succeed.
Perfect position is why you might want to vote for Chris Elliott as he is lined up to see the NYRB attacker is onside in the goal scoring opportunity.