This week we are going to examine how we can improve teamwork with the referees. Hopefully, the referees will read it and take it to heart. It is definitely something to bring up in your next pregame.
Your opinion is requested on two somewhat similar offside decisions where the assistant did not raise their flag. Should they have?
Finally, a look at a time in the match when assistants need to increase their level of concentration.
Key Players Making Unexpected Passes
Look at the two plays below which feature a unexpected pass from a key player. In NYFC's case it is Pirlo, who unexpectedly puts a thru ball to Villa that may have even surprised the Spaniard. Fortunately, PRO AR Nesbitt had not let her guard down and correctly raised the flag.
The second play sees Asad find Martinez with a pass that splits the defense. A good decision to keep the flag down.
The point of these two plays is to raise your concentration when the ball is at the feet of players that have the vision and ability to pick out players in the attacking zone.
Three plays with incidents in what is considered the assistant's "green zone" for getting involved with managing the match by calling fouls, in all cases the referee whistled for a foul without the assistant's flag.
In the first incident at 33:40 of the match between NYFC and Montreal the assistant referee is closer and has a clear view of the contact. Additionally, he does not need to worry about offside or the boundary line. He can and should be concentrated on the contact. The referee in this case needs to trust the AR's judgement and allow him to decide if this contact is a foul. You can see the player's reaction when the decision comes from the referee who is at a distance with the AR so close. (The AR's reaction also seems to suggest that he was surprised by the whistle.) Situation like this diminish the referee crew's teamwork. The referee could have used the communication system also, which might have given the AR enough time to raise his flag before a whistle. This is a situation that needs to be discussed in the pre-game.
The second incident needs to be treated differently by the referee because it is an upper body foul. With the ball running near or along the touchline the AR's focus is on the feet to see the last touch for the likely boundary line decision. Referees should be ready to make this decision even with the play so close to the AR, knowing that there focus will be at the feet.
The final incident needs to be looked at in its context, the match tied at one, added time. This call belongs to the referee, first and foremost because he has taken an excellent position and has a clear view of the action - there is no need for help. It is also a play where the attacker could be looking for a free kick and the referee needs to assert his authority.
If possible both referee and AR can be proactive with the communication system in the attempt to get a simultaneous flag and whistle . In all these cases a late flag after a referee's whistle is not recommended as it is superfluous.
Call of the Week #3
Corey Parker takes home the trophy for Week #2 with 51% of the votes.
Three fantastic offside decisions make the call of the week ballot this week. First CJ Morgante in Orlando who needs to make two tight decisions correctly. Corey Rockwell in Atlanta who doesn't get fooled by the defender who steps up late. Kevin Klinger who waits and sees that the onside attacker receives the ball before the goal.
Should the flag have been raised?
Look at these two plays where the assistants did not raise their flags. Should they have been? Comment below on what you think is the correct action to be taken.