Referee Week in Review – Week 7
The Situation: Houston is up 3-1 against D.C. United in the 62nd minute.
The Play: With Houston getting a throw-in around midfield, the attacking player has positioned himself several yards behind the D.C. United backline and his teammate throws the ball directly to the attacker.
The Decision: The assistant referee does not signal for an offside, the play continues and the attacking player scores a goal.
My Take: While it’s a basic rule, this is a situation that does not occur very often – particularly with an attacking player so far behind the defense - and the referee crew did well to correctly allow play to continue.
The Laws of the Game: Law 11 states that there is no offside offense if an attacking player receives a ball directly from a throw-in, goal kick or corner kick.
The Situation: Chivas is ahead 2-0 against New England in the 52nd minute.
The Play: A Chivas attacker serves a ball into the box that strikes the hand of his teammate as he is closely guarded by a Revolution defender. As the Chivas attacker controls the ball and shoots on goal, the referee whistles for a penalty kick believing that it was the Revolution defender who handled the ball in the penalty area.
The Decision: After consulting with the assistant referee, who had a clear view of the play, the center referee reverses his decision and awards a direct free kick to New England.
My Take: This is a great example of communication amongst the referee crew. The assistant referee shows confidence in pointing out what he believes is the correct call, as does the referee by being willing to accept his opinion. The most important thing is to make the correct decision.
The Laws of the Game: Law 5 provides that a referee can reverse a decision as long as play has not re-started.
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.