In this week’s POTW we are discussing Offside Position in relation to players and offside positioning with regard to Assistant Referees.

This play is taken from the game between Real Salt Lake and MLS newcomers LAFC. As the ball is played by LAFC’s Diego Rossi to Steven Beitashour, AR Apolinar Mariscal makes an outstanding decision to judge that Beitashour is in an onside position. This is an extremely difficult call as you can see by the grass line that it is only because RSL defender, David Horst, is leaning forward and therefore plays Beitashour onside.

The law states with regard to “Offside Position” :

 A player is not in an offside position if level with the:

  • Second last opponent
  • Last two opponents

Beitashour then passes the ball inside to team mate Latif Blessing who scores but Blessing is in an offside position as he is nearer to his opponents than both the ball and the second last opponent. Therefore the goal should have been disallowed.

The law states with regard to “Offside Position”:

A player is in an offside position if:

  • Any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent

Assistant referees have to keep level with either the second last defender or the ball, depending on which is nearer the goal line.

One of the most important attributes that top Assistant Referees must have is continued concentration.  They must move on immediately from one difficult call, and not dwell on it, we call it “parking the bus”. If you look at Mariscal’s movement following the first call he appears to be frozen on the spot and does not move quickly to be level with the ball in the next phase of play. This gives him a distorted view and because the ball is played slightly back, makes it appear as though goal scorer Latif Blessing is level with the ball and therefore onside at the time the ball is played to him by team mate Beitashour.

In summary the learning points from this play in order to get it right next time are:

  • Continued concentration
  • Park the bus
  • React quickly to next phase
  • Quick movement

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