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2011 Referee Week in Review - Week 15



Referee Week in Review – Week 15

The Situation: Boston and Atlanta are tied 0-0 in the 90th minute

The Play: As the Boston attacker takes a shot, her teammate is in an offside position. The save by the Atlanta goalkeeper is deflected towards goal and into the path of the Boston attacker running forward. Atlanta defenders recover and clear the ball out of play.

The Decision: Boston maintained possession deep in Atlanta territory.

My Take: The Boston attacker is clearly in an offside position at the time of the shot. The mere fact that the goalkeeper saves the shot does not end the active play. Since the defender is now forced to clear the ball because of the position of the attacker, the attacker has ‘interfered with an opponent’, is involved in active play, and should be ruled offside.

The Laws of the Game: Law 11  states that a player in an offside position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by: interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage by being in that position. 


The Situation: Los Angeles and San Jose tied 0-0 in the 43rd minute.

The Play: The goalkeeper is in possession of the ball and as he prepares to distribute, the San Jose player heads the ball out of his hands. As the goalkeeper retrieves the ball and the attacker pursues, the goalkeeper swings out his arm and strikes the attacker in the face.   

The Decision: The attacker is issued a caution while the goalkeeper is sent off

My Take: With the goalkeeper in full control of the ball, the San Jose attacker may not interfere with his distribution and deserves a yellow card for unsporting behavior. Despite the provocative act, the Los Angeles goalkeeper cannot retaliate in this manner and must be shown a red card for violent conduct.

The Laws of the Game: Law 12 lists the offenses which can be sanctioned by caution and sending off.

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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