Week #27 September 7-11

As you stay in line with the second to last defender, the teams are looking at the red line of their post season hopes. The last remaining 5-6 games should be a battle for points no matter who is playing and you need to bring the same intensity and work rate to your remaining games.  So this week we are going to re-emphasize giving benefit of the doubt to the attack.  It takes concentrated effort to keep the flag down on tight difficult decisions and with the emotions of the final matches even more so. 

Giving Benefit of Doubt to the Attacker

This first clip includes two situations, in the first one the AR raises the flag on a play where the attacker is even with the second to last defender after a turnover.  This first play is not an easy decision since the defender realizes to late that he is keeping the attacker onside and takes a step up field.  Looking at the freeze frame - Can the benefit of doubt be given to the attacker?  We think so and can support this decision. 
In the second half of the clip the same AR does gives benefit of doubt to attack when a far defender keeps the near side attacker on.  The resulting goal is the reward for a good decision.

More in Columbus

This play speaks for itself, and no one is saying it is easy, but, if we want to be the best, then on this type of decision the flag needs to stay down.  
To be able to keep the flag down when it gets tight:

  • Be square to the field at the moment of the pass
  • Be perfectly inline with the second to last defender
  • Be cognizant of the flash lag effect
  • Have courage to know you are right
  • Are you pausing to think about it? - That's doubt - Keep the flag down.

No Time to Relax - Moving to your Left

Unfortunately we need to examine an incorrect offside decision this week and analyze how we can get this right in the final weeks of the season. 
In Los Angeles v Orlando a corner kick is taken and cleared by the defense in what looks like a rather routine play.  The defense moves up quickly and the assistant referees maintains proper position with the second to last defender.  As is often the case, several forwards in the penalty area are in offside position moving slowly to get onside.   Yet, it is the forward who took the original corner kick that receives the first touch forward pass.  Where did he come from?  Even the defense seems to have missed him....as well as the AR.  
As you watch the clip, focus on the movement of the AR after the corner kick.  At the end of the clip it is zoomed in (and a little grainy) but we can see enough to note that right before the ball is played to the forward (the freeze frame) the AR has turned his shoulders up field and is no longer square to the field.  Should he be side stepping? (yes) Is there a tiny body language sign of lowering of the concentration level? (possibly)  Does he look ready to make an offside decision? (no)
This AR has several events working against him.  Not only is the ball is being played by an attacker on the far side of the field, they both are in the shade, while the AR is looking thru the sun.  With the original clearance and the ball moving to the AR's left side there is the natural tendency to feel that we will not need to make an immediate offside decision, after all, the ball is moving away from goal.  As PRO assistant referees we need to make sure that our work rate is just as high no matter which direction the play is moving.
Advice:  If there are a mix of attackers and defenders in the penalty area moving up field after a clearance, maintain sidestepping movement, stay square to the field, concentrate and get ready for a one time ball being played back "into the mix."

Call of the Week #26

Eduardo Mariscal won Week #25 with a solid 63% of the vote, which really just means that all his family voted for him. 
Since the emphasis is on giving the benefit of the doubt to the attack, we offer two tight and difficult decisions for you to savor and decide which one is best.  The first is from NE and NYFC where NYFC's Villa keeps New England onside and Anthony Vasoli obliges by keeping his flag down.  Goal for New England. 
The second comes from Salt Lake where Kevin Klinger deals with an attacker in the middle of the field while the second to last defender is right next to him.  Goal for Real Salt Lake.

Anthony Vasoli

Kevin Klinger

Who had Call of the Week #26