This week we are going to push patience on raising the flag again. You all know that a quick flag is only necessary when there is a possibility of a collision with a goalkeeper and that a correct late flag will always be better than a flag that is up so quick that the player may not have committed an infraction. We need to put this in practice in our games as when the referee stops play for your flag and no one has gained an advantage or interfered with the ball or play we are actually killing opportunities for scoring.
We will also look at two plays where the flag must be raised and then the referee needs to decide whether to wave you down or call a foul.
The match is 3-3 and in additional time when one team pushes forward rapidly to try and get the winning goal. The cross is made, but a defender dives in at the last moment and clears the ball. Except the clearance goes back to the same attacker who begins to set up another dangerous cross. Whistle. What? Flags up for offside. Where?
Was there a player in an offside position? Yes. Did he gain and advantage? No. Did he interfere with play? No. Did he interfere with an opponent (have impact)? No, because impact means that the opponent's movement to play the ball was delayed, hindered or prevented by the offside attacker and the ball is clearly in front of him.
Late in matches your concentration level needs to remain high. During the entire match when a cross is made into the area no immediate decision is necessary - be patient, wait until the point when an offside attacker has actually become offside or a defender has played the ball.
Too Soon Two
A bit more difficult is this play in Orlando where an attacker comes from an onside position at the far side of the penalty area to receive a cross. It is likely that this attacker was not even seen by the assistant referee until he appeared as if out of no where at the back post. That is why positioning is so important. If you are aligned with the second to last defender any attacker that "appears" thru a sea of players on the far side of the assistant referee will be onside. The reason he is not visible is because the second to last defender is blocking your view. This play also requires the AR to read the play and anticipate a midfielder over lapping.
Where's the Flag?
There are occasions in a match where offside can be waved off. For example, when the goalkeeper gathers up the ball before the whistle has been blown or when the ball falls kindly to a defender who can begin to move up the field. This play meets neither of those categories. An attacker is clearly offside and even touches the ball. Even though it deflects to a defender, there is no way that the defense has clear possession. The flag must go up for this type of play as you can see the attack immediately steals the ball. It is up to the referee to decide whether to wave down the flag, but he must be made aware that an offside infraction has occurred.
Which Came First
Although offside position is determined at the moment that the ball is played by a team mate the actual offside infraction comes when the attacker (as in this case) touches the ball.
Clearly this is a correct offside decision, however the referee has spotted a hand ball infraction after the ball was played by the team mate and before the offside attacker touched the ball.
The direct kick for hand ball is the correct restart. These are not simultaneous fouls as the offside has not been completed, only offside position has been determined.
Call of the Week #28
...and you think your vote doesn't really count. Last week we had a statistical tie as both Kevin Klinger and Anthony Vasoli received 50% of the vote, so they will have to split the prize. What's half of nothing?
This week's best call nominees come from the NYFC v FC Dallas match. The first one is a well timed thru ball where FC Dallas scores. Jason White did well to spot the lone NYFC defender who kept the attacker onside.
The second great decision comes from a one touch pass to NYFC McNamara who looks to be clearly offside, but isn't. This call was made by the other Jason White (the better looking one). Pick your winner.