MLS Week #13 May 23-27

This week we examine two good uses of the VAR delay flag.  There was a wrong decision in Colorado for offside that was corrected by Video Review, but was it done right?  A quick look at a momentary loss of focus in LAFC that should serve as a good piece of education for all assistant referees. 
Finally, three choices for Call of the Week that all share one thing in common. 

VAR DELAY FLAGS DONE RIGHT

In previous weeks we have discussed the "VAR delay" flag.  The instruction given is to hold the flag down until the shot is taken to allow the ball to be in the goal before the referee blows his whistle.  This then allows for video review to check the accuracy of the offside flag. 
Two good examples of this were put into practice.  The gem of the two was in Montreal, where Joe Fletcher (who has a lot more training on this) has offside but waits, waits, waits and puts the flag up as the ball enters the net. The audio is enhanced so you can hear the whistle clearly blowing after it has crossed into the goal.  The VAR checked the decision and confirmed Fletcher's flag as correct. (of course)

The second good delay was in NY Red Bulls v Philadelphia, this time it is Katy Nesbitt who waits until the ball is struck towards goal before raising the flag.  Again the audio has been enhanced to hear the whistle and you can see Katy in the background only beginning to raise the flag once the ball is headed towards goal.  The VAR checked the decision and confirmed Nesbitt's flag as correct. (of course)
Both these decision used best practices for games with video review. 

WRONG BUT RIGHT IN COLORADO

The offside decision was wrong, but the procedure was right, for this Video Review intervention in Colorado.  Because the right procedures were used, the right outcome was achieved which is the most important. 
On the initial cross two attackers are onside but then there appears to be a slight touch that puts the eventual goal scorer in an offside position.  The AR is not sure if there was a touch so he correctly stays at the corner flag and asks for help from the referee, who also is unsure if there was a touch.  Since the VAR needs to have a decision on the field they decided to give benefit of doubt to the attack and allow the goal. 
On review the VAR could see the slight touch and correctly recommended a factual review for offside.   This was not only a good use of video review, but good teamwork by the 5 man crew.

BALL WATCHING IN LAFC

Focus and concentration are especially necessary on free kicks near the penalty area.  Mostly, because there can be  15-20 players involved in the mix.  In this incident in LAFC there are 17 players in or near the top of the area waiting for the cross or shot to be taken.  The AR needs to concentrate on the STLO, which could be one of several defenders and also be ready to move towards the goal line for any secondary action.
This AR gets momentarily lost in his positioning due to watching the ball and losing the STLO due to the back and forth action of the ball. This leaves him out of position for any possible offside or boundary line decision (although no one would expect him to be so fast as to be on the line for this shot).  He is caught in no AR's land. 
The AR correctly moves on the initial free kick as the defenders will do the same, however he stops to watch the ball - that fraction of a second means he lost his STLO - and it appears that he goes flat footed as he shifts his focus.   The focus should remain on the STLO as the referee will be watching the ball.  The ball being blocked by the wall should signal a heightened level of concentration because the most likely next play will either be a second shot on goal or a lobbed cross.  In this case it is a second shot which caroms of the bar and down.   Clearly not in, but this AR would only be guessing from the position they are in. 
Advice:  Stay focused on being in position for offside during these situations.  Stay on your toes and be ready for lots of fast, but short movement in either direction. 

Winner - Call of the Week #12 - Logan Brown

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CALL OF THE WEEK #12

Call of the Week features three decision where no goals were scored.  No fault of the ARs who correctly gave the attacker the chance on goal, but mostly due to some excellent saves by the goalkeepers.   First, Jason White lets Zardes get a clean header on goal in a very tight decision.  Katy Nesbitt allows Marcus Eps a clean breakaway from midfield and Jose DaSilva does similarly in Orlando. 

White

Nesbitt

DaSilva

Who had Call of the Week #13?
Jason White - Sporting KC v Columbus
Katy Nesbitt - NY Red Bulls v Philadelphia
Jose DaSilva - Orlando v Chicago