More on teamwork this week -- and there will probably wont be a break from that topic as a weekly trend for a while.
We have examples of great, good and poor teamwork, so we need to look at why some were better than others.
There will also be a spotlight shown on two offside decisions where the effort and skill of getting in proper position made for correct decisions.
Finally, check out the offside situation from Portland and Sporting Kansas City at the bottom of the page. Was the assistant correct to raise his flag or was this a deliberate play? Vote your opinion and leave the reason why in the comment section.
Teamwork and Assisting the Referee
We will start with the poor example of teamwork, so that we can end on a positive note.
POOR: 34th minute in Chicago with the score tied at zero, AR2 has spotted a simple foul that he decides to flag. He can be fully concentrated on the contact between the players because he has no offside or boundary line decision to make. He can and should raise his flag because he has a more credible position, better angle and is closer than the referee. When the referee overrules the AR and gives a throw in to the other team, the players are confused as the best position official has made a decision, that is not supported with a whistle.
If you want to argue that the referee was correct to wave down the flag because the contact wasn't clear enough or hard enough for a foul, go ahead, but in the context of the match there is more value in supporting your teammate and showing the teams that you are all working together than to put down your colleague for giving an innocuous free kick just to give a throw in. This type of situation erodes the strength of the team.
GOOD: In Portland the referee is caught with an awkward angle from a defensive clearance as the play moves down AR2's line. The AR recognizes that the referee may be caught out of position and quickly analyzes why he must assist on this play:
- there is no offside decision to make
- there is no boundary line decision to make
- he is closer to the play
- has a better angle on the play
- has a credible position to make a decision.
When he spots that the attacker has pushed the defender causing him to trip his teammate he correctly raises his flag and because of the aforementioned reasons his decision will be accepted by the teams - and appreciated by the referee.
GREAT: In Chicago, AR1 Adam Wienckowski needs to help on both of the cautions that resulted in the send-off of New England's Watson. The two cautions are only 6 minutes apart and in both cases if you watch the clip closely you will see how he has silently signaled to the referee that a caution is necessary by putting his hand over his badge (with simultaneous use of the communication system).
Looking at the same list of reasons as before (especially angle of view), on both occasions, his flag is necessary and in combination with the referee's whistle there teamwork leaves no room for dissent from the players.
On the second caution the referee decides to take a huge risk by giving advantage, this forces Adam to put his flag down and continue, but it is very important that the whole team of referees remember the number of the player to be cautioned at the next stoppage, which you can see Adam does when the ball goes out of play.
It is not recommended that advantage be given unless a clear goal scoring opportunity is imminent.
Why Positioning and Movement Matter
As you watch these two clips try to focus on the movement and positioning of the assistant referee. Trust me, no one was offside and both decisions are correct. Note in Columbus how Kyle Atkins at first is forced to run down the line due to the speed of the play, but he adjust his body to be square to the field just at the moment that the offside decision needs to be made. This is good movement. By reading the play correctly Kyle has given himself the best opportunity to make a correct decision because he is square to the field.
In Montreal, Jeff Greeson has an important decision to make in additional time of a tied match. When the ball is initially cleared notice how he has spotted the slowest defender moving out and is side stepping with him all the way. So when the shot comes flying in and is deflected by an attacker, he is square to the field and his body is even with the second to last defender, thus, he can correctly determine no offside. This is a good technique to use especially when the penalty area is crowded with players.
Call of the Week #7
54% of the vote was good enough for Craig Lowry to win Week #6.
This week, three gems for you to choose from. First Adam Wienckowski took a break from giving out cautions to make a good offside decision to deny Chicago their goal. Second and Third choice are the two decisions mentioned in the earlier paragraph. Which one was best?
Is this Offside?
Watch this play and vote. Then leave the reasoning of why you voted in the comment section.