Week #7 April 13-18

James Conlee

James Conlee

This review of Week #7 in MLS has several interesting decision made by assistant referees.  There are two quick decisions that had to be made on a corner kick where proper positioning was crucial.  A situation with free kick management that the AR did well to spot.  Also, we will look at 6 intense minutes for assistant referee James Conlee in Dallas. 

There was a rare case of mistaken identity on a DOGSO that PRO Manager Paul Rejer explained in his PRO Play of the Week.  Assistant referees play a part in these situations as they should always keep track of misconduct.  Whenever there is a possibility of misconduct the assistant referee should always remember the number of the player involved until the referee has shown the card.  Even in cases where it seems obvious, the referee may need help as he could be dealing with various distractions.  However, you can only provide assistance if you are 100% sure of the player's identity.


Corner Kick in Houston

PRO assistant referees are aware of a tactic used by several MLS teams where the take a short corner.  At every corner kick ARs should note the location of defenders and the goalkeeper as every team has a different defensive set-up.  In this play in Houston, Los Angeles Galaxy have a defender covering the near post and the goalkeeper is a yard off his line.  AR Logan Brown needs to be aware of this because there is a offside decision to be made almost immediately.  Note that when the ball is stopped by the attacker the Houston player is kept onside by the goalkeeper and the defender guarding the post.  Brown then needs to adjust his position and concentrate on the next phase of play for the incoming cross, where he correctly keeps the flag down and Houston scores a nice goal.

6 Minutes in the Life of James Conlee

Experienced assistant referee James Conlee dealt with an active 6 minutes in last week's game in Dallas.  First, an incredibly tight offside decision that may have had a simultaneous touch between attacker and defender to a player who is dead even with the ball, resulting in a goal. 2 minutes later a wait and see offside decision followed by another very tight offside in front of goal, both correct.  90 seconds later, no offside on a thru ball, save by goalkeeper, correct. 60 seconds more, foul in his area, correct.  30 seconds later, goal scored but correctly denied for offside.  The professional game demands constant concentration in matches where you cannot dwell on your last decision, which is just another day at the office for James Conlee.

Just When You Thought It Was Offside

All year we have been emphasizing giving the benefit of the doubt to the attack and PRO ARs have been rewarded by seeing their decisions proved correct by video replay.  Here are two offside decision that seem like obvious offside calls, so much so, that even the announcers are caught making quick assumptions. (Like that never happens.)

Free Kick Management and Encroachment

Encroachment on a free kick is very difficult for assistants to spot.  Usually it is not something they are looking for as their first priority is the offside decision on the service into the box.  However, when the wall is near the assistant he needs to be aware of it in his peripheral vision.  In this case, Portland player Chara encroaches on the free kick and deflects the ball.  AR Mike Kampmeinert is correct to wait to see the result of the free kick before raising the flag as there still may have been an advantage for LA.  Once that did not materialize he informs the referee of the encroachment and raises his flag.  There is some confusion with the location of the restart as Mike was not sure if there was a handling offense also.  Again, he is correct not to guess here, because he was not sure where on Chara's body the ball made contact.  To complete the play he correctly reminds referee Alan Chapman that a caution to Chara is required.  In the end, good game management and assistance.