Week #13 is complete and we will concentrate on offside situations again.
Was it correct to call back the goal in Colorado due to offside? Was there interfering with play in New England?
Take a look at a goal in Minnesota, you decide, should the referee crew have allowed this goal or should it have been called back due to offside?
There was a mass confrontation in Vancouver, did we learn anything from last week's review?
Did the entire ball cross the goal line in Orlando?
Disallowed Goal in Colorado
At the beginning of the season we had a lot of discussion about offside situations where a player's actions impact an opponent. In this situation in Colorado a goal is scored by a player who was in an onside position at the moment it was crossed. However, look at the actions of the player in the center of the box who is in an offside position and keep an eye on the goalkeeper's movement.
The offside positioned player clearly attempts to play the ball that is close to him and that action impacts the goalkeeper as he can be seen to stutter step at that moment. This meets the requirements for interfering with an opponent and is correctly judged offside.
There is a somewhat similar situation in New England, however this offside attacker is further from goal and it may not be his actions that impacted the goalkeeper, but that he has impaired the keeper's line of vision. The referee crew does well to sort this out, as the assistant referee reports to the referee that there was an offside player on the shot, but he could not tell if he was in the line of vision of the keeper. The referee determined that that player was indeed in the line of vision and decides to award an indirect kick to the defense.
It does not matter that on this play the goalkeeper made the save (and gave up a corner kick), the attacker has interfered with an opponent.
Mass Confrontation in Vancouver
Last week we review the proper procedures for assistant referees to take when dealing with mass confrontation. This week ARs Johnson and Hanson had to put that into practice in Vancouver. When watching the clip notice the positions the referee crew take once more than two players become involved.
Referee: close, but not surrounded by the players
AR 2 (closest to play) - close but able to see all players
AR 1 (furthest from play) - wide angle view of events
4th official - bench control and touchline view of events
This is a good handling of this confrontation. However, difficult to see in the video, is a momentary lapse by almost all the crew. After the red cards are shown the referee leaves both sent off players behind him, AR 2 is returning to his line, AR 1 has return to his line and is in a conversation with the coach. Fortunately, the fourth official has kept his eyes on the two players the started the mess as they confront each other again. The referee is alerted thru the communication system and a second confrontation needs to be dealt with.
The suggested action in this case is to not allow two players being sent off at the same time to leave together and not to let your guard down until the situation is completely diffused.
Goal Line Decision in Orlando
Difficult decision for Chris Strickland in Orlando and with no clear goal line video replay you will have to make your own judgments whether this ball wholly crosses the line. The good folks at @soccerphotogammetry have rendered their decision as you can see in their image. Their geometry says it's a goal.
At the moment the ball is cleared off the line the assistant is two yards up the touchline (not seen on this video) a decent, not perfect, point of view, but credible enough to make a decision. The point of emphasis here is that ARs should not guess and need to be confident that they have seen the play clearly. In this case, Strickland is confident that he has seen the ball cross the line and moves smartly up the field to indicate goal.
Deliberate vs Deflection in Minnesota
You will need to decide. The referee crew let this goal stand. Should it have been called back for offside? Does the defender make a deliberate play on the ball? Ignore the announcers as usual as they only confuse the matter.
Focus in Sporting Kansas City
Keeping track of the second to last defender can be difficult when the defender is near the goal line on the far side of the assistant. In Sporting Kansas City the second to last defender has made a play near the goal line and is slowly moving out when a second shot is taken to the AR's near post that deflects directly to an attacker who, unfortunately for him misplays it to the goalkeeper, losing a chance at a possible goal. The assistant incorrectly flags for offside as he has lost track of the far side defender.
This is a matter of focusing on the ball and not that last defender. The ball needs to be in the peripheral vision while defender's and attacker's positions are the main point of concentration. If your focus is on the ball at the moment it is played you will need a valuable fraction of a second to re-focus on player's position to determine offside. At the professional level you will need that fraction.
Wait and See is always good practice
We continue to emphasize that there is rarely a need to quickly raise a flag and this week there were two plays were assistant referees took their time to evaluate the play and in both cases correctly allowed play to continue resulting in positive attacking soccer.