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.
Early in the Seattle v Portland rivalry match, Portland sets up for a free kick that has all the signs of a cross being sent in to the center of the area. AR Logan Brown notes that Portland's Alonso has taken a clear offside position before the free kick is served and makes sure to inform referee Mark Geiger thru the communication system. At this point there is nothing "illegal" in him being in that position and this tactic is not the same as the "wall behind the wall" offside position that occurred last season, which was meant to interfere with the goalkeeper. In this situation he is not interfering with the goalkeeper's vision and so an immediate whistle at the taking of the free kick would be incorrect. The referee needs to wait to see if an actual offside offense occurs.
At the moment the ball is played, AR Brown notes "position", but correctly does not raise the flag as there is no infraction...yet. As soon as the referee sees Alonso step into the path of the defender he then correctly stops play for offside. (Note: the AR could raise his flag at this point if he knows that the referee has made an offside decision as this would help players and fans understand what happened.)
This is correct procedure for similar situations where players take up offside positions before free kicks. It is important that the referee know which players are in offside position at free kicks so he can make a judgement on interfering, which would be difficult of the assistant referee to do on his own from a distance.
We have always emphasized the need for constant awareness and not to let your guard down at any time of the match. Free kick being one of those moments where there can be a natural tendency to relax, after all play has stopped.
In Philadelphia v Atlanta, a free kick is whistled on the far side, away from assistant referee Gianni Facchini. Because he has prepared, by reading the scouting reports, he knows that Atlanta is a team that likes to play quick free kicks and so he stays in position and alert. The quick restart creates a tight offside decision that he can correctly judge, which leads to a obvious goal scoring opportunity. This is good practice and a good warning for the next assistant to not lose their focus when the ball is momentarily not in play.
Throw ins 101
Foul throw ins are a rarity in a professional match, however they are one of those little details that need to be checked so that bigger problems do not occur. There are two examples of throw in situations shown here. In PRO's opinion both are within what would be consider a legal throw in. The ball is thrown with two hands, over the head, both feet on the ground and off the field of play. (In Montreal the ball has clearly left the player's hand before the foot is raised.) That is not the purpose of putting them in the review this week, you all know what a legal throw in is (contrary to the announcer), the point is - are you even watching?
It is the assistant referee's responsibility to check to make sure throw ins are taken correctly, including placement of the feet. Watch the two examples and focus on the AR. Do they have any idea if the throw in was taken correctly or not? In Montreal it is difficult to see where the AR is looking, but it is clear that the referee is not watching the thrower. In Portland, the AR has turned away after his nice signal and doesn't notice the somewhat irregular looking throw in.
The point is stay alert to these small details as you move into position and while signaling.
Answer- What Should You Do? San Jose v Philadelphia
Refreshing to see nearly everyone up to date with the correct restarts for fouls off the field of play. The correct restart is a direct free kick awarded at nearest point on boundary line.
What Should You Do? DC United v New England
In DC United v New England there is an attacker who is in an offside position when the ball is played forward. He decides to give chase after the DC United defender goes to the ball. What Should You Do?
Winner Week #24 - Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho
Call of the Week #25
Three choices this week, all offside decisions. Which one is the best of the lot? To be honest, they are would be worthy winners any week.