Due to Copa America Centenario only five matches were played this week. So in this shortened version of Week in Review we are going to study two offside decisions and two send-off decisions where assistant referee involvement was needed.
Two send-offs for two elbows in two matches, and handled in two different ways.
Starting in Portland where Aspirilla puts an elbow to the head of San Jose's Stewart. When you view this clip you need to decide who would have the best view. The referee cannot see this and will need to get help.
This is certainly a key match incident and the referee does not need to rush a decision and can take the time to get all the information. It is important to wait until the players have calmed and not lose track of any retaliation or further escalation. Once the players have calmed the referee can consult with both the assistant and the fourth official. This time gives the referee time to put all the pieces together and then make a reasoned decision. In this clip, using their advice he decides that there has been violent conduct and sends off Aspirilla.
Compare that send off with the elbow in Philadelphia where Columbus' Casey sees a red card. In this case, after the whistle, the red card is instantaneous. Reading the reaction of the players, there is no need for a quick decision by the referee.
With all the clips we analyze the first thing that needs to be checked is which officials had a credible view of the incident. In this case the assistant referee's focus would be on this tackle as the ball is near the touchline and offside would not be of primary concern. The referee should recognize that his assistant has a different yet credible view of the situation and should consult him before making a decision on misconduct.
Although uncommon, it is possible for the assistant to inform the referee that he doesn't agree with the decision even after the card is shown, an advise the referee of what they feel is correct action to take. The ultimate decision still belongs to the referee and he can only change his decision if the game has not been restarted.
Two Wrong Offside
Unfortunately, two incorrect offside decisions in two different matches, one results in a goal that should not have been and the other denies a goal scoring opportunity.
The first decision happened in Los Angeles vs Sporting Kansas City. PRO's Training and Development Manager used this as an opportunity to review assistant referee best practices and can be read here.
In Portland a back post header from a free kick results in a goal. At the moment the free kick is taken it appears that Portland's Ridgewell is in an offside position before he comes back to the ball for the header.
Since there are several attacking players in the area where the ball will land, the assistant referee is correct to use the wait and see technique however, once Ridgewell makes contact with the ball the flag should be raised.
In situations where there is a free kick with multiple players in a small area the assistant referee should take a mental picture of the moment when the ball is played and then use it once the play is completely developed. By using this mental frame the AR can allow themselves to wait and see who plays the ball and then make a correct decision.