This week the theme is Assisting the Referee in Managing the Game. In fact, other than commenting on last week's "Is this offside?" and offering an new unusual offside situation for your votes and commentary, all the clips are about fouls and misconduct. In all cases where the AR gets involved with managing the match consider: does the assistant referee have a better view, is closer than the referee and are they in a credible position to make the decision. Also, remember the order of priorities for assistants: offside, boundary lines and assisting the referee.
Penalty Kick in Seattle
Although the referee is not in a poor position, this play develops in the clear view of the assistant referee. Since there is no immediate offside decision to be made, the assistant referee can focus on the foul and its location. This is a time where the assistant referee's flag is necessary and when the referee's whistle and the flag are nearly simultaneous there is little room for argument or dissent. Note also that the AR follows procedures by quickly moving around the corner flag once the whistle has blown to clearly show the foul was in the area.
Teamwork Needed in Seattle
There is never a moment to let your guard down, especially in a Seattle v Portland derby match, as a foul is committed behind the referee's back. It is important for the far assistant referee (and fourth officials) to cover the back of the referee on counter attacks. This isn't the first or last time this type of situation has occurred. See the video clip from July where New England's Kamara commits a similar foul that the assistant does spot.
This past week's foul is committed by Portland's McInerney when he pulls down a defender behind the referee's back leaving him wide open in front of goal. Teamwork is the only way that this crew can get this right. One would hope that if a goal had been scored that the fourth official or AR1 would have seen and then been able to communicate what happened to the referee.
Misconduct in Philadelphia
This foul is correctly flagged by the AR as he has a clearer and better view of it than the referee. However, it still is the duty of the assistant to inform the referee of misconduct as this foul has all the sign of being a reckless tackle. ARs should take responsibility for informing the referee that they feel a caution is necessary. The referee can then act on that information.
A Little Tug on the Shirt
Who is fouling who? In most cases shirt pulling is done by defenders trying to slow down an attacker. Yet it can be used as a tool to beat a defender as can be seen in this clip. This play cannot be seen by the referee, there is no immediate offside situation or boundary line decision to be made so the focus of the assistant needs to be on assisting the referee. It is the responsibility of the assistant to flag this shirt pull, and in this case, there is no denying what has happened.
Last week's - Is this offside?
The opinions were relatively split but a clear majority (59%) felt that this was not an offside situation that needed to be flagged. This situation does not need a flag. The San Jose attacker is behind the defender and simply jumps for a ball that never reaches him, makes no contact with the defender and does not interfere with an opponent. He makes no impact on the defender's ability to play the ball. The distance and angle that the assistant referee has is not optimum to be able to tell if he has interfered and it would be better (if possible) for the AR to ask the referee if the player has made an impact before any flag.
Sticking with the theme of the week, we highlight two difficult decisions. The first we mentioned earlier when Adam Wienckowski makes a penalty kick call on the edge of the box when he has a clearer and closer view than the referee. The second call was made by Eric Weisbrod in Kansas City where he sees that the goalkeeper has infringed by moving off the line before the penalty kick was taken. The play is detailed on the PRO website's Play of the Week which you can read here. Which call was better?
Another one to look at - Is this offside?
This one comes from the Tulsa v Oklahoma USL match. The crew did not have a communication system so they had to follow proper procedures to make their decision. The AR seeing a player in an offside position that is not the scorer who (from his view) may have interfered, stays at the corner flag, the referee comes over to consult and together they decide to not award the goal. (Not seen on the video). Did they come to the right conclusion.