As we go into the tenth week of the season it is important to stay sharp and not forget to take care of the details. Have you noticed yourself doing any of these minor imperfections that can lead to loss of focus and concentration?
- Not activating before the match and second half
- Flag in wrong hand
- Moving while signaling
- Not holding position after flag for offside until ball is placed
- Not keeping track of misconduct in the match
- Moving slowly to the left
- Walking to regain position after signaling
- Standing flat footed
- After ball has been placed for goal kick, jogging casually (instead of a nice run) to STLD
- Do you look like your "ready"
The point of all these is that they help you stay focused and concentrated during the whole match so that you will be ready for the big decision when it comes. Letting minor details like these creep into your game will eventually catch up with you. Stay sharp.
Fine Tuning- Assisting the Referee
When the AR assist the referee by flagging a foul, it needs to be clear and expected. It also needs to be raised understanding the context of the match. Is this foul needed right now? Should I give the referee a flag or should I communicate first in case he wants some discretion in deciding? Does the game expect/need my flag?
Watch this first clip from Montreal v Vancouver, but check the score and time before viewing it. Without a doubt the assistant referee has the best view of this foul and not raising the flag would be a disservice to the match. This foul needs to be called and the game expects this flag even with less than a minute remaining. Additionally, this is good support to the referee's decision to add a caution.
Two fouls near AR 1 in Columbus get a flag for two different reasons. Foul 1 the referee is partially shielded by another defender and this foul is best viewed with the angle of the assistant referee, the flag is needed to make sure the referee has seen the foul clearly. It is not a foul that can be ignored or left uncalled.
Foul 2 happens late in the match in the AR's corner. Although the push is not heavy and the NYFC defender is looking to draw the foul once he has gained position on the attacker, it is enough for a foul at that moment of the game in that location on the field. Everyone expects the closest official to make the decision. The referee's whistle without the AR's flag would have lead to even more frustration from the Columbus player. This flag is needed for support and teamwork.
Also in Columbus, but on AR 2's side of the field a foul early in the match needs a flag and more. AR 2 has the best angle to see this grab that trips up the attacker, better than the referee's view for sure. The referee gets confirmation with the flag that he has seen correctly this foul that stops a promising attack (hence the caution). Just in case, the AR walks up the line to show that the foul occurred outside the penalty area.
In Los Angeles v Philadelphia context and conviction are missing from this decision by the AR who does have a better view (especially for point of contact) than the referee. The flag is raised late, in the wrong hand, and timidly. This leaves the referee with doubt and for that matter, the players also. In the context of the match this could be the 2nd caution for the LA player. For that to happen it needs to be 100% certainty from the assistant referee. What was the amount of force? Where was the point of contact? Was it the arm or the elbow? Tool or a weapon?
You can discuss among yourself whether this foul was worthy of more, however if the AR is going to raise the flag for any foul we need to do it in a way that no one is left with any doubt of our decision. Otherwise we leave the referee in an uneasy position on how to act on it.
What Happens Now?
There are times when stuff happens. What is the correct action to take when you are not sure? In Sporting Kansas City v Real Salt Lake a goal is scored and it looks suspicious from the start. There is a deflection off of an attacker that leaves the goalkeeper wrong footed with no chance to save the ball. Where was that attacker?
Paul Rejer, PRO Training & Development Manager, has commented on this play in his Play of the Week and you can read it here. However, we need to get this right as allowing this goal to stand would be hard to explain.
Proper procedure for when you are unsure of a goal legitimacy is to stand at attention and not move up the field. In this case, if you suspect that the ball might have touched (obstructed line of vision even) an offside positioned attacker (by reading the keeper's reaction for one) do not move up field. Communicate with the referee that there were two players in an offside position and you are not sure if they made contact with the ball. (If possible use name/number of the player). The referee can then put the puzzle together quickly since he had a better viewing angle of the ball hitting the back of the player, but doesn't know if he was in offside position.
Call of the Week #9
Peter Manikowski pulled in 63% of the vote to win Week #8. Congrats to him and his proud family.
This week there is a trifecta of fine offside decisions. First is Corey Parker in FC Dallas v Portland, second Jonathan Johnson in Atlanta and third Apolinar Mariscal in Seattle. Choose the best one.
Is this offside?
We presented this last week. The answer is NO. The decision for when a player interferes with an opponent (in this case by blocking the defender) needs to be made at the moment the ball is played. In this clip the defender has a clear path to the attacker at that moment. The AR could decide to call a foul under Law 12, but not under Law 11.