By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer
In Play of the Week 19 we are looking at the importance of the use of the Wait and See technique when making offside decisions.
The play is from New York Red Bulls versus New England Revolution, in the 37th minute.
Revolution’s Lee Nguyen receives the ball from Teal Bunbury and moves into the Red Bulls’ penalty area. He then crosses the ball over in the direction of team-mate Charlie Davies, who is poised to play it.
Assistant referee Sean Hurd, who would be primarily focused on Davies, raises his flag when it seemed obvious that Davies was going to play the ball.
At this stage, however, New England’s Andy Dorman surprises both Davies and, more importantly, Hurd by appearing from an onside position to slot the ball into the goal.
Immediately realizing his error in raising his flag, Hurd summons referee Alan Kelly over to him for dialogue.
In the meantime, Hurd explains to Nguyen that he made an error by anticipating and raising his flag too quickly and is going to inform the referee. You can see by Nguyen’s body language that he appreciates this and thanks Hurd. Following the dialogue, referee Kelly correctly awards the goal.
This incident reinforces how vitally important it is for ARs to always wait and see before raising the flag and not to anticipate, no matter how obvious the outcome may seem. By keeping the flag down by just a second, Hurd would have realized that Davies did not play the ball and Dorman had arrived from an onside position.
The most important aspect to this play is that Hurd, when realizing his error, ensures that eventually the correct decision is made. However, by not utilizing the Wait and See technique, the AR missed the opportunity of making a classic decision.