Play of the Week 10: Offside – Gaining an Advantage in CLB v SEA

By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer

Play of the Week 10 again discusses my favorite subject, offside!

This week I am placing  particular emphasis on the main factors involved in making the correct call, namely:

– Positioning
– Awareness
– Accurate judgment
– Concentration
– Continued concentration

The play is taken from Columbus Crew versus Seattle Sounders at 74:29.

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When the ball is crossed into the penalty area by Sounders’ Gonzalo Pineda, Obafemi Martins is onside, while Clint Dempsey is in an offside position.

AR Jonathan Johnson correctly utilizes the ‘wait and see’ technique and refrains from raising his flag when the ball goes to Martins and not Dempsey.

Having made this correct call using the first four attributes listed above, he does not utilize continued concentration and follow the ball to the next phase of play. Consequently, he is then out of position.

So when Martins has a shot on goal, Dempsey is still in an offside position, slightly ahead of the ball. The ball is then parried by the goalkeeper and goes directly to Dempsey who has now ‘gained an advantage by being in that position’ and the goal is incorrectly allowed to stand.

To make an accurate judgment on this play you have to be perfectly in line with the ball to know with any certainty that Dempsey is in an offside position when Martins plays the ball.

The law states:

‘A player is in an offside position if he nearer to his opponents’ goal line than the ball and the second last defender.’

We know the importance of ARs being in line with the second last defender but, when the ball is nearer the goal line than the second last defender, their priority then has to switch to being level with the ball.

Continued concentration is key here to ensure optimum positioning and correct decision making.

This would have been a difficult call if the AR had been in the optimum position but, from the position and the angle he had, it was impossible.