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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 9



Referee Week in Review – Week 9

The Situation: San Jose is leading Columbus 2-0 in the 62nd minute.

The Play: The attacking player from San Jose checks back to receive a pass and is fouled from behind.

The Decision: Seeing the ball go to a teammate who is in position to attack, the referee allows play to continue and within seconds the player shoots and scores. 

My Take: The referee is in great position to assess whether a foul has been committed and to determine if an advantage may develop. While the challenge is certainly reckless, the referee astutely recognizes the potential for the attack to continue, and his patience allows for a goal to be scored.

The Laws of the Game: Law 5 lists several circumstances that a referee should consider when determining whether or not to apply advantage, one of them being “the chances of an immediate, promising attack.” The law further states that if a referee feels the offense warrants a caution, they must issue the sanction at the next stoppage of play.


The Situation: Chivas USA leading New York Red Bulls 1-0 in the 18th minute.

The Play: The Red Bulls attacker takes a shot on goal that is saved by the goalkeeper. As the ball rebounds back to him, his Red Bulls teammate drifts into an offside position. The attacker challenges for the ball and kicks it off a defender, which then rebounds to the other attacking player who collects and delivers a cross.

The Decision: Play is stopped as the referee whistles for offside.

My Take: This is an example of a player gaining advantage from being in an offside position. When an attacking player kicks the ball into the defender and it rebounds to another attacker in an offside position, the infraction must be called. In order for offside to be waived, the defender must control and make a deliberate attempt to play the ball. The mere fact that the defender is the last player to touch the ball is not the controlling factor. 

The Laws of the Game: Law 11 states that an attacking player has gained an advantage by being in an offside position by “playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent.”


Michael Kennedy is a current MLS referee and has officiated in the league since its founding in 1996. In addition to serving as a professional referee, he has also represented U.S. Soccer as both a FIFA referee and assistant referee.


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