2014 MLS Cup Playoffs – Play of the Week 1: Offside call in NY v DC

The first Play of the Week from the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs with PRO’s Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer focuses on offside.

The play is from New York Red Bulls versus D.C United and features a fantastic decision by 2013 Assistant Referee of the Year Kermit Quisenberry.

Rejer said: “At 19:30 in the game, D.C’s Perry Kitchen plays a through-ball in the direction of Fabian Espinola who starts his run towards the ball. Kermit is aware that he is in an offside position.

“The first line of Law 11, the Offside Law states: ‘It is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position’. So he does what all top ARs should do and delays raising his flag until Espinola becomes ‘active’ and plays the ball.

“Nick DeLeon, who is onside, runs through, intercepts the ball and a very promising attack develops. DeLeon crosses the ball into the penalty area to Espinola, who is now onside, but unfortunately he fails to convert his chance.


This skill for an AR is easier said than done, and requires a lot of mental strength and discipline to keep the flag down. This incident highlights the importance of doing just that, as raising the flag when it seemed apparent that Espinola was going to play the ball would have denied D.C a legitimate goal scoring opportunity, which we covered in Play of the Week 23 during the MLS regular season.

“I would also like you to look at Kermit’s movements as there is no doubt that when he was considering the initial play, waiting to see if Espinola plays the ball or not, this would have temporarily delayed his movement along the touchline. However, once deciding not to raise the flag, he kept his composure and stayed in line with the second-last defender.

“This one incident demonstrates many of the requirements of assistant refereeing at the highest level.

– Laws of the Game knowledge
– Mental strength
– Composure
– Fitness
– Positioning
– Awareness
– Alertness
– Concentration
– Accurate decision making

“These all combine to enhance our beautiful game and create more legitimate goal scoring opportunities. Well done Kermit.”