With only three games this week this will be an review.
There were a couple of interesting plays to look at, both suggest that we need to improve our teamwork to get the offside puzzle correct.
More Teamwork in NY
These two plays show the need for improved teamwork between the referee and and the assistant. They are slightly different as in one case the flag is raised (NY) and in the other the assistant is unsure of who had the last touch and does not raise the flag. Both are wrong. Both need help from the referee. The common denominator is that in both case the ball is played into a crowded area and the assistant has a difficult time identifying which player was the last to touch the ball. How to communicate in this type of situation is something that should be covered in the pregame.
In the NY Red Bulls match the defender heads the ball at the same time as a Red Bull attacker is also attempting to play the ball. For the AR it is difficult to identify who played the ball.
Two ways this can go. First, if the referee sees that two opposing player are attempting to play the ball and the defender is the last touch, a quick "defender, defender, defender" is needed. However, referees are usually not thinking about offside, but rather looking for fouls, so it can be missed, this means that the AR needs to ask. There is no need for a quick flag in this situation so there is time for a "who played it?" or "help, help, help". This play should not have been called offside.
In the second situation in New England v Minnesota the ball is crossed low through a crowd of players and is touched along the way by an attacker. The player that eventually received that ball was in offside position at the time and should have been flagged. Fortunately the ball ends up comfortably in the hands of the keeper. The assistant not being sure who played the ball correctly kept his flag down. It would be expected that since the AR was not sure that he would initiate the communication and ask for help. Since the ball was play by an attacker the referee would not be expected to say anything, but seeing that the ball was played into a crowd, the referee could immediately offer the help knowing the AR will be having difficulty seeing it.
Call of the Week #4
Last week CJ Morgante was a clear winner with 65% of the votes. This week with only one candidate from an MLS game - Jason White in Portland v Columbus - we have bring in a challenger from USL - Kyle Atkins at Swope Park Rangers v Oklahoma.