For the final Week in Review we take a look at, obviously, the final match of the season. There were questions raised concerning the offside decisions made by PRO assistant referees in the MLS Cup Final, especially with Toronto FC's first goal. We will take a special look at that one and show how the VAR was able to confirm that Jozy Altidore was onside by using of all things...the helicopter camera.
Except for the three assistant referees assigned to the final, the 2017 season is complete. For PRO ARs it has been a successful season as we analyze some of the regular season's data.
As a group PRO assistant referees had a 96.9% level of accuracy in offside decision making. The Key Match Incident (KMI) offside accuracy rose from 78.8% in 2016 to 94.2% this season.
33 weeks later we have reached the end of the regular season. The final week produced more positive performances and good decisions, two of which you can pick from to decide our final Call of the Week winner.
An interesting offside decision in San Jose will serve as the educational material for this week and we are going to tie that decision to one from the play-in round of the playoffs.
Goal line decisions are the focus of this week's report. We will look at three decisions to decide if the whole of the ball has crossed the goal line. One with the assistant referee in perfect position, a second with the AR in almost perfect position and the third with the AR in a far from perfect position. What credible decision can you make from each position?
Tuesday only had one positive moment for US soccer and it certainly wasn't in Trinidad and Tobago. It was our referee crew at the U-17 World Cup in India. Jair Maruffo, Frank Anderson and Corey Rockwell did very well in their first match - Iran v Germany. I have included the highlights in this week's report so you can enjoy the nice decisions that both Corey and Frank made during the game. Jair, made some good ones also, but this is the assistant referee's page.
Only four matches in Major League Soccer this week, but they still provided us with one good learning moment and a couple of quality offside decisions. Oh, and only 24% of you got the What Would You Do? answer correct. What's up with that!?
How much interfering with an opponent do you need to call offside? How little does it take to cause a goalkeeper to miss time a clearance? We look at two plays this week where there is a possibility that an offside positioned attacker interfered with an opponent...and went unpunished.
We also spotted a little referee/assistant teamwork in San Jose v Chicago that we want to highlight for the benefit of others.
This week we have a special look at the interfering with an opponent decision from Minnesota and three offside flags that coincided with fouls. In two of these sequences the offside decision was the correct re-start and in the other one the foul negated the offside. Were all three correct decision and was the law applied correctly?
The answers to the Why was this Offside? and What Would You Do? from last week and two gems of offside decisions, with only one to be crowned as Call of the Week #29.
When is a player offside by two yards when he is actually onside? When the announcer says so, and is even convinced that video review will overturn a goal for this clear infraction. Worth a listen on the clip from Vancouver v Columbus, which is featured this week as one of our choices for Call of the Week. In fact, the three plays selected for Call of the Week have good lessons to be learned as they are good examples of top class decision making.
Two other interesting plays to analyze come from Chicago v DC United. One, which is a confusing offside decisions until you look closely, and a second shows a referee daring to ignore a PRO assistant referee's flag. How dare he....
This week we are going to look at two throw in were the assistant referee's positioning needs to be analyzed. Previously (Week #25) we pointed out the importance of assistant referee's keeping an eye on the throw in in relation to whether it was taken properly, especially in regards to the feet.
With only four MLS matches played last weekend this week's report is short. However, there is a good reminder for why you always cover passes back to the goalkeeper and what do you do with players that come back to the ball from an offside position. Most of you answered last week's What Would You Do? incorrectly, so check the answer and then vote for the best Call of the Week.
This week we spotlight a good use of teamwork to identify interfering with an opponent on a free kick. Then we see an assistant referee who does well not to let his guard down when play is stopped for a free kick. We will deal with an accusation (maybe that's a bit strong of a word) of blame for missing a throw-in that eventually results in a goal. A possible offside infraction to check out and decide if it is offside and when should you raise the flag, if at all. Finally, a difficult choice for you to make on three very good offside decisions for Call of the Week #25.
Three goals, all called back for offside decisions. What impact did Video Review have on them? One had a flag straight away, one had a flag after communication with the referee, and one had no flag. Ultimately, all three decisions are correct, but they do provide us with good talking points for procedure and protocol with Video Review in place.
This week we review how an assistant referee became involved in a denying of an obvious goal scoring opportunity decision which helped the referee reverse his original decision. Was this correct? A quick reminder about good AR mechanics, could it have prevented a mass confrontation from starting? A goal that was allowed, but was the attacker offside? Finally, the best decisions of the week made in Major League Soccer.
With last weekend's largely successful roll-out of the use of VARs (that's the person) it only makes sense that we talk some Video Review (that's the name of the process)
This week we will look at several offside decisions and see how they were affected by the video review process. With those same offside decision, we will also check to see how the match would have been affected if the original decision had been left up to the VAR to correct.
Although we are slightly past the actual midway point of the year, the All Star break is really seen as the mid-season mark. If you have been following the news (which of course you are) teams have been signing new players for their push to the playoffs. Add the implementation of VARs and it really feels like it is the start of a new season.
Looking at last week's matches there are several decisions to discuss. The one that created the most buzz was the Houston v Portland interfering with an opponent decision. Also, there were two possible deliberate play incidents and an off-the-ball misconduct spotted by the assistant referee.
One of our initiative this year was to increase the overall work rate during dynamic play, with additional emphasis on play near the penalty area. From MLS Week 20 we have examples of both good high level work rate and some that are not were we want to be. We are looking at two examples of where a little more effort may have changed a decision and another where nothing happened, but was the AR in position if there was a decision to be made?
A controversial decision in NYFC turns out to be correct, but could it be done without the controversy?
Finally, the answer to What Should You Do and Call of the Week.
The midweek independence day matches did not have many fireworks for the assistant referees to deal with. Overall another good week as we enter the second half of the season. So the main purpose of this report are to look at two What Should You Do? situations. The answer from last week - that saw about 20% of you calling a penalty - and a new offside situation from an NASL match which denied an own goal.
This week we are going to look at two decisions near the assistant referee. They don't look like much at first view, but the players do get fouled. How can we make sure we spot this? On the same topic we present an incident in the penalty area on the assistant referee's diagonal. What should you do?
Week 17 of MLS was rivalry week and so a mass confrontation was probably inevitable. So as good a time as any to review proper procedures.
Teamwork and communication among the referee crew is still something we continually need to improve on, so we look at two situations one in Chicago and one in New York.
Last week's What Should You Do? generated some good discussion from the few of you that had the courage to include your comments. We have an answer that may not satisfy all of you, but it comes from the top.
It is not often that we need to talk about what to do while waiting for a simple throw-in, but the wide angle camera captured an incident in Orlando that none of the crew saw. Was the outcome correct? This week we also need to look at a missed offside due to movement to the left near the penalty area, fortunately it only resulted in a corner kick. Finally we go to the NASL for an interesting decision, is it offside or handball? What should you do?