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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 3

Major League Soccer – Week 3

The Situation: Toronto FC is leading Chivas USA 2-1 in the 44th minute of play.

The Play: A Toronto FC player controls the ball from a corner kick and drives a low cross in towards goal.  The ball is touched by another Toronto FC player and directed into the goal. 

The Decision: The assistant referee raises his flag indicating the player is offside and the goal is disallowed. 

My Take: When the ball is played, we see that the attacking player’s head is nearer to the goal line than the second to last defender.  The play is very close but the according to Law 11 (see below) an attacking player is offside if his body, feet or head are past the last defender. The referee assistant correctly identifies the offense and the goal is disallowed. 

The Laws of the Game:  Law 11 (Offside) states that a player is in an offside position when they are nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second to last defender.  Being nearer includes when an attacking player’s head, body or feet are past the second to last defender.

The Situation: Kansas City is leading Vancouver 2-0 in the 62nd minute of play. 

The Play: An attacking player from Kansas City runs onto a through ball. The Vancouver defender appeals for an offside call as he believes the attacking player was behind the second to last defender when the ball was played.

The Decision: The referee allows play to continue and Kansas City scores a goal. 

My Take: The referee and assistant referee are well positioned to make the correct call on the play.  When examining Law 11 (see below) we clearly see that the attacking player is at least level with the second to last defender so play is allowed to continue as no offside offense has been committed. 

The Laws of the Game:  Law 11 (Offside) dictates that a player is not in an offside position if they are in their own half of the field of play, level with the second to last defender or level with the last two defenders.    

Michael Kennedy is a current MLS referee and has officiates 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.