Usually, its not worth getting annoyed at the announcers of MLS matches, but this one got under my skin. Listen to the announcer in NY Red Bulls v Toronto as he erroneously states that the referees had made a mistake calling offside on Toronto's potentially game winning goal. Then, after seeing multiple replays, realizes that Toronto had a player in offside position who clearly interfered with an opponent, so he reverses himself (props for that) and states that it is the correct call. Finally, to add one more layer of unintentional insult, congratulates the - "good camerawork" - on the play. Yes, it was just that, the "good camerawork" between AR 2 Claudiu Badea and referee Robert Sibiga that got that play right without multiple replays. (See explanation and clip below.)
With that in mind, we are going to highlight all the "good camerawork" that happened in several MLS matches this week. We will compare two boundary line decisions to determine what is the best practice for assistants. Answer last week's question "What Would You Do? (only half of you got it right). An offside situation that needs your comments, should there been a flag? And this week's Call of the Week #12 has four super fine decisions that each on their own would normally be hands down winners. Good luck trying to pick the best.
Goal Denied for Interfering with an Opponent
In NY Red Bulls v Toronto a goal was scored in the 88th minute that the referee crew used teamwork to determine that an offside offense had occurred.
The clear action of Toronto #44 raising and moving his foot to avoid contact with the ball had an impact on the NY Red Bulls' goalkeeper. Note how the goalkeeper has to delay his save attempt until the ball has passed #44, a clear indicator that he has been interfered with. AR 2 Badea correctly does not raise his flag and stays at the corner flag, as from his angle he can only determine that #44 was in offside position, but has no depth of field to determine impact. After conferring with AR 2 using the communication system, the referee from his angle was able to determine that the keeper was interfered with. This is the correct procedure and the correct decision.
The AR can raise his flag simultaneously with the referee's indirect free kick signal so that spectators and players can see what decision was made.
Goal Line Decision Making
This week we had two goal line decisions to look at.
In Seattle v Real Salt Lake a shot is taken directly from a free kick and is saved on the line by the goal keeper. Did the ball cross the line? The assistant referee, thru no fault of her own, is three to four yards from the goal line and from that position would be hard pressed in making a goal / no goal decision. Although the angle presented is the best available it appears to be a correct decision.
In Philadelphia v Houston, the play has moved quickly to the goal line and again, even though the AR is sprinting to stay in position, at the moment the ball is crossed he is still about two steps shy of the goal line. However, he is sure the ball has wholly crossed the line and raises his flag. The video proves him right.
The point here is that we know that sometimes, no matter your speed and work rate, you will not be able to always be in an optimal position to make this crucial decision, we just ask that you don't guess, be sure in your decision.
Call of the Week #11 - Blow-out Winner - Ian Anderson
Call of the Week #12
This week we could only whittle it down to four candidates and all of them are very "good camerawork". All of them are rewards for excellent concentration and giving benefit of doubt to attacking soccer, although there is no doubt they are correct.
#1 Frank Anderson in San Jose does not lose sight of #8 who sneaks in at the back post to score.
#2 Eric Weisbrod allows Chicago's Accam to run free towards goal on what looks to be yards offside - replay proves otherwise.
#3 Claudiu Badea confirms interfering with an opponent with the referee.
#4 Kermit Quisenberry keeps his flag down on a tight decision that results in a NYFC goal.
Good luck picking the best.
What Should You Do? - Answer
Last week we asked what would you do as an assistant referee on this play. The correct action is to flag for the foul and communicate Unsporting Behavior. The flag is needed because this is a clear foul in clear view of the assistant referee who should be focused on that area of the field since there is no immediate offside decision to make. The tackle does not rise to the level of Serious Foul Play because although the contact is high there is no force, the knee is bent as the player tries to pull his foot back and there was a clear play on the ball. For the AR to recommend SFP to the referee there must be no doubt that it is a red card offense.
What Should You Do? RSL v NYFC
Watch this offside situation and decide what is the correct course of action. Although it is not clearly seen on this video, the NYFC player involved was in a clear offside position when the ball was played. You can vote and comment. Answer next week.