Play of the week: POR vs LA, TOR vs DC and DAL vs CLB

This week’s Play of the week features three games involving three different aspects of the role of an Assistant Referee.

PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer looks at plays from Portland Timbers versus LA Galaxy, Toronto FC versus DC United and the match between FC Dallas and Columbus Crew.

Paul explained: “The first play completes my recent theme of offside and the three elements of involvement in active play.

Week 29 focused on interfering with an opponent, week 30 highlighted gaining an advantage and this week looks at the third element – interfering with play – from the game between Portland Timbers and LA Galaxy.

“A Galaxy free-kick is played into the Timbers’ penalty area; AR Eric Boria is fully focused and is concentrating on his responsibility of offside.

“He is aware that Robbie Keane is in an offside position when the ball is played and is alert to the fact that Keane, in this play, is always offside and never onside.

“Therefore, he knows that if Robbie challenges an opponent for the ball he is offside for ‘interfering with an opponent’ and he also knows that if Keane is the first player to play the ball he is offside for ‘interfering with play’.

“That’s exactly what happens and Eric raises his flag and correctly adjudges the offside offense – an accurate decision at a crucial time of the game.”

The next play Paul looks at concentrates on another important aspect of the role of an AR –   assisting the referee.

In this play, from the match between Toronto FC and DC United, AR Adam Garner correctly signals for a free-kick from which referee Ted Unkel plays an advantage, which results in a goal.

Paul explained: “At PRO we encourage ARs to take responsibility when foul challenges occur within their area, which Adam Garner does here. If the referee then decides to play advantage that is his prerogative.

“In this play, Adam is providing the referee with an option; free-kick or advantage. We regard this as good teamwork.

“However, ARs also have to be alert to the potential of the referee playing advantage but Adam stops running for too long and finds himself behind play, instead of anticipating a potential advantage and keeping on the move.”

This final play covers another important role of an AR – judging whether the ball is in or out of play.

The law states that the ball is out of play when it has ‘wholly crossed the goal line or touch line whether on the ground or in the air’.

Paul explained: “In this play, from FC Dallas versus Columbus Crew, the ball runs along the touch line and some of the ball goes out but not all of it.

“Some Crew defenders stopped when they thought the ball had crossed the line and Dallas went on to score a goal. AR Bill Dittmar is seen looking down the line and, although there is a player in his way, he correctly judges that the ball remains in play.”

Taken from FIFA’s Laws of the Game