This week we highlight the work of the assistant referees in two matches; Los Angeles v Vancouver and Sporting Kansas City v Columbus. Interestingly in the LA match the two clips we are going to look at are very similar to the ones in Portland and Philadelphia presented last week. Did we learn from previous mistakes?
Also, we will examine several cases of involvement with game management, especially one from the NY Cosmos v Ottawa match. In that match the referee crew ultimately get the decision correct, however, we can do better in the communication procedure.
Good Movement in LA
Last week we looked at a play in Philadelphia where the AR's movement most likely contributed to a mistake. This week in LA we spot Apolinar Marsical whose correct movement and keeping himself square to the field contribute to getting the offside decision correct. Make sure to concentrate on the AR's body positioning as this play develops. By sidestepping and keeping his shoulders square to the field, even as the ball is played out, he gives himself the optimal opportunity for making a correct decision. You can also note that there is no loss in concentration as the ball is cleared and he is ready for the next phase of play.
Free Kick Concentration
Last week we noted a mistake that was made on a free kick where multiple players are in line with the second to last defender, making it difficult to determine who is in offside position at the moment the kick is taken. This week a similar free kick is taken by Vancouver with at least three attackers at the back post and at the moment the ball is played only one is in an offside position. As was suggested last week, AR Corey Rockwell takes a mental picture of that one player and waits to see which of the three attackers will eventually play the ball. In this case the header is made by the one attacker who was in an offside position and the resulting goal is not awarded.
Involvement with Game Management
Previously we noted that it is the responsibility of the entire crew to keep track of who commits misconduct. In Sporting Kansas City there is a clear DOGSO situation and immediately as it happens it is key that all officials note which player has committed the foul, even if it seems clear which player it is. When watching the clip notice how the referee is using the communication system to verify which player he needs to send-off. This is good team work.
You should never assume that the referee will have the correct player without help, as there are many factors that could have distracted him.
More Help in LA
When this tackle occurs the referee quickly pulled out his yellow card as he is about to book the player for persistent infringement. However, AR2 has clearly seen that the tackle is made with force, straight legged, at the shin, and with the bottom of the cleat, which are all signs that this is serious foul play. Immediately on seeing the yellow card he uses the communication system to tell the referee "red, red, red". The referee then reevaluates the type of foul that was committed and changes the color of his card. Again, this is good teamwork.
ARs should inform referees when they feel the punishment is not sufficient for the foul committed when they have a clear and credible view of the incident, ultimately the referee will make the final decision.
Penalty and Send Off at NY Cosmos
This is a rather long clip, but you need to watch all of it to get the feel for the delay in making this decision. Why did it take so long? Even though in the end the decision is correct, what could have been done better?
The referee does not get a clear view of this play because of the original misplay by the defender when the ball goes over his head, catches the referee out of position. That should alert the assistant referee that he will need to make a decision on this play because he has the best view and is in a credible position to see it. Unfortunately, he does not make any decision at that moment. It is not until the referee has stopped play to deal with the injured player and called the assistant over to asks him about the play does he tell the referee that the tackle was made with studs up, straight legged, above the ball, contact to the leg and with force. All signs of serious foul play. The referee correctly sends off the keeper and awards the penalty kick.
Assistant referees need the courage to make timely, big decisions involving fouls near them that they have a clear view off. If the assistant referee sees the signs of serious foul play in a tackle they need to flag for that play, the same way as if they were the referee blowing the whistle. Similarly, the referee, if his view is blocked on a play or is caught out of position, should immediately ask for help, letting his crew know that he did not have a clear view of the play.
The referee is correct in calling over the assistant referee while the injured player is being attended too as there is time to evaluate the situation. Since play has not been restarted they can correct their decision. However, imagine the situation if play had been allowed to continue.
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
This is purely for entertainment value, especially the slow motion replays. Who doesn't love a good fall. Just so you know, for all of you with soft hearts, the assistant referee is back on his feet, doing fine and ready for his next match. And, don't worry, your turn will come some day.
Spotlight on two excellent decisions
AR1 and AR2 in the Sporting Kansas City v Columbus match both had excellent offside decisions that led to goals and we spotlight them here.
AR1 is Corey Parker and he allows this thru ball that ties the match for Columbus, concentrating on the movement of players on the far side of the field.
Jeremy Hanson is AR2 and correctly spots the lone defender keeping onside the group of SKC players to allow the winning goal.