It was a bit chilly in Minnesota but that did not stop excellent performances by PRO assistant referees. In the warmer parts of the country it was also another good week. Hopefully that's the end of the snow and the orange ball for this season.
This week we highlight some very good offside decisions and will get nit picky on flag technique, ask for faster movement on the line and look at a boundary line call.
Chicago v Real Salt Lake - Offside Flag Correctly Waved Down
The most viewed and talked about decision was made in Chicago when referee Kevin Stott spots the defender's touch on what looked like a clear offside situation. PRO Development and Training Manager Paul Rejer analyzed this decision from the referee's perspective and you can read it here. On this page we will analyze it from the assistant referee's perspective and how we can make this call go from great to perfect.
The real issue for assistant referees here is the difficulty in seeing that the final touch was played by the defender as both the attacker and defender are making a simultaneous play on the ball. However, looking at this play there in no need for the assistant referee to quickly raise the flag, giving the referee a chance to say "defender, defender, defender". There is even a possibility that the offside positioned attacker, realizing he is clearly offside, not play the ball and leave it for the other attacker. A wait & see flag is needed here to turn this good call into a perfect call.
As a reminder a quick offside flag is only needed when there is a possibility of a collision with the goalkeeper or other defender.
Increased Speed in Movement to the Left
Admittedly, this is a tough decision. This offside decision is very close and without the benefit of a replay from a proper angle the decision to give benefit of doubt to the attack is supported. Using the cut grass lines as a guide the AR has left himself 2-3 yards out of position at the moment the ball is played. Could the AR have increased his work rate to get himself in perfect line with the defender who has moved forward? This is something that takes mental focus to see the possibility of an offside situation before it occurs and being in the proper position to make the best decision.
AR Involvement on Boundary Line
Often assistant referees are asked to assist the referee in determining if a foul occurs inside or outside the penalty area. In Philadelphia v Toronto that was the case and the PRO AR correctly determined that this foul occurred inside the penalty area as his position gave him the best view. Kudos for keeping focus on this second phase of the play since he had to make a tight offside decision just before the foul. A holding foul that begins outside the penalty area but continues inside is a penalty.
It may seem like such a small matter, but how you move your flag from hand to hand can have the appearance of confidence or doubt. Would it have been better for this assistant to simply take a moment to make his decision before moving the flag from one hand to the other and then back again? Yes, it is being picky, but what do you think a neutral observer would surmise about these two decisions?
Goal Denied Correctly
Concentration when the ball is inside the penalty area is needed to make this correct decision.
Hat Trick in the Cold for Parker
It is very rare that an assistant referee has three tight decisions that result in goals in one game and add to that a snow covered field where keeping yourself in line with the second to last defender is nearly impossible. PRO assistant referee Corey Parker has the first AR Hat Trick of the year with these three gems.
Call of the Week #2
Week 1 winner was Matt Nelson with a cool 67% of the voting. This week another three good choices. Corey Parker for Atlanta's first goal in the cold of Minnesota. Oscar Mitchel-Carvalho for Philadelphia's first goal and Logan Brown for the offside and pk assist also in Philadelphia. Vote for who you think had the Call of the Week.