This past week assistant referees in MLS were required to step in on several penalty kick decisions that we will review with special emphasis on making sure that you are aware of the position and view of the referee before raising the flag.
A quick note on being ready for the unexpected, that really should be expected with only two weeks left in the regular season.
Was it offside in NY Red Bull last week? We give our take on it.
Be Ready for the Unexpected
With the push for the playoffs getting tight a lot of teams and players will be on edge. I include this short video to show how a simple bump on a throw in can turn into much more. Be aware that a potential flare up can happen at any time and your quick intervention can prevent misconduct. Could the AR have stepped in a fraction of a moment earlier? Probably, but when you tower over the players like AR Corey Parker, they can hardly see each other anymore.
Remember the procedure for mass confrontation: if just two players, step in and attempt to prevent escalation. If it becomes more than two, step back, observe and then inform the referee of misconduct.
A Tale of Three Penalty Kicks
Assistant referee were involved in three penalty kick decisions this past week, all in areas of the penalty box where ARs need to be involved. However the main difference in the two calls is the position of the referee at the moment of the decision.
In Vancouver v Seattle the play is coming down the assistant's line all the way to the goal line where the attacker is able to beat his defender and is heading towards goal when the defender pulls him down. The foul is clear and best visible by the assistant (Frank Anderson), who makes the decision. The referee is caught behind play and does not have a better view.
Compare that with the penalty kick decision in San Jose v Montreal. Again the play is on the assistant's side and heading towards the goal line. However, in this case the attacker is not heading towards goal, is trying to bring the ball under control and is defended by three defenders. When he feels some contact at the shoulders he goes down easily as the ball is going out of play. The assistant sees this as a foul and raises his flag without checking the position or consulting with the referee whose body language suggest he is about to give a goal kick. As you view the clip, notice the referee's good position, within 15 yards and with a clear view of the incident. Since the referee has good position and view, before deciding to raise the flag the AR should make eye contact and communicate thru the intercom system. The referee can then compare the information given by the AR with what he has seen to make his decision.
Penalty kick #3 is back in Vancouver where a handball is seen by the assistant referee. Again, it is important note the position and view of the referee compared with the assistant's. The referee enters the video frame at the end of the clip, but the side view clearly shows the view of the assistant is the best and that means that the AR must make this call.
Movement on Shots on Goal
A good habit of the top assistant referees is their automatic movement towards goal when a shot is taken. All ARs should begin to sprint towards the goal line whenever a shot is taken just in case there is a decision to be made on the goal line. The majority of the time the ball will obviously cross the line or be saved, however you make that run for situations like the one in San Jose v Real Salt Lake. Watching the clip you can catch a glimpse in the bottom left as the AR is moving to have the best angle to decide that this ball did wholly cross the line.
Is This Offside?
Last week we presented this situation for you to evaluate. 65% to 35% felt that it is not offside, which we agree with. The main issue is whether the movement of the offside positioned attacker has any impact on the goalkeeper. In one angle you can see that the keeper's line of vision to the shot is not blocked, so that eliminates gaining an advantage. In the other angle you can notice that the goalkeeper has already begun his dive to make the save before the attacker jumps at the ball, no impact, no interfering with an opponent. Again, any doubt on a play similar to this should be given to the attack.
Call of the Week #30
Congratulations to Mike Rottersman for winning last week. Woohoo. This week, in an ongoing emphasis on rewarding assistant who give the benefit of doubt to the attack in offside decisions, we present three worthy candidates.