Week in Review comes from Panama and the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, where PRO assistant referees, Richard Gamache and Ian Anderson have represented PRO very well in the 5 matches they have worked so far. PRO also provided Greg Barkey as instructor and Alex Prus as assessor.
This week in MLS we had some excellent decision that I want to point out for the amount of concentration and focus that was needed. They look easy to the untrained eye, but PRO assistant referees handle these type of decisions every week.
NASL has produced a highlight to look at this week as the NY Cosmos tried to pull off the old trick corner kick play and in the same match we will give the same AR some props for good movement to the left, which serves as a good reminder for all of us.
Finally, from Panama with love, an offside clip to vote on. Be careful. Look at it closely before committing to your decision and leave a comment of why you made your choice. Is there interfering with an opponent?
Focus and Concentration
Emphasis this year was on work rate and concentration with the play in the penalty area and it paid off this weekend on four occasions. There is a fifth situation, but it did happen away from the penalty area, so we can classify that one as just great focus and concentration.
In Toronto, at first look the question is - Where is the offside? On the replay you can spot Toronto's Giovinco in an offside position a the moment of the pass. By taking and then not losing the mental picture of Giovinco's offside position, AR Peter Manikowski can wait to see if he actually becomes involved and plays the ball. When he does, he raises his flag. I'd be surprised if any fan watching the game noticed Giovinco at the time of the pass. Excellent concentration.
In Minnesota - Patience is key for "wait to see" in this situation where a clearly offside player moves towards the ball but avoids it in the end, realizing he would be called for offside. By keeping the flag down Danny Thornberry gives the fans what they want, more attacking soccer. At this level, this is standard stuff.
Back to Toronto - A clear offside decision, that looks quite easy at first glance. Yet in previous matches we have seen where a flick header from the near post is not easy for the assistant to see and they need the referee's help to identify who last played the ball. Looking at this clip from the AR's perspective, this would be a deliberate play if played by a defender and it would result in a goal. It is important for the referee to say "defender, defender, defender" if that were the case so the assistant can know to keep his flag down.
In New York (actually New Jersey) - Two offside positioned players can confuse the not fully focused assistant referee on a thru ball. By using the wait and see approach the AR gives himself time to analyze the situation and wait to see if there is an actual offside offense. After he allows play to continue he then quickly moves to be in position for the second phase of the play and a second decision that the goal scorer was behind the ball when it was played.
In Atlanta - This is all about focus because there are several factors that could distract the assistant from his first priority - offside. First notice that there is contact between the defender and the attacker that leaves a player on the ground and in an offside position. Was this a foul that the AR may need to assist on? Did the referee see it? Then there is the second attacker making a thru run that is very tight and that needs to be evaluated. The decision to keep the flag down is correct and results in a goal. Excellent work to not get distracted by the first part of the play, which in the end is the responsibility of the referee since the AR needs to concentrate on the offside.
Trick Corner Kick Play
The New York Cosmos attempted a trick corner kick play and it took a couple of seconds for the referee crew to stop play and get it right.
The new interpretations states that the ball must be touched and clearly move. Clearly moves needs to be interpreted that the ball clearly has rolled and moved to a new location. If you are in any way not sure that the ball has clearly moved or if there is any doubt about the corner kick being taken correctly on this type of sneak play, stop the play immediately and have the corner kick retaken. Better to have a re-take than to suffer thru the major controversy of a goal that is scored off the improperly taken corner kick.
Good Movement to the Left
Not often do we highlight the good work of some of the people in our development tiers, but why not? In the same NY Cosmos match, focus on the assistant referee's movement to the left after the corner kick. He makes sure that he moves fast enough to be square to the field for the next offside situation. This is type of movement and position is what we expect from all of our assistants.
Call of the Week #8
Last week's voting was the tightest so far this season, with Kyle Atkins taking the honors with 36% of the vote, Adam Wienckowski finished with 33% and is the first loser or second place. This week two very challenging decisions both equally difficult. and you will need to make a tough choice. Cameron Blanchard in Atlanta v Real Salt Lake is Choice 1 and Peter Manikowski in Chicago is Choice 2.
Is this offside?
Watch closely, can you spot on offside infraction? Is it?