Sunday, October 1, 2023
EducationPlay of the Week

Play of the Week: MLS Cup Playoffs – Offside Positioning

Image: Montreal Impact players celebrate Dilly Duka’s goal

By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer

A regular theme for Play of the Week in 2015 has been highlighting the importance of positioning for referees. This week we are concentrating on the vital importance of an AR’s positioning to make accurate offside calls.

The play is from the Columbus Crew versus Montreal Impact game at 39:00, when a crucial goal is scored by the Impact.


The ball is played over from a corner kick and, when it is played by Impact’s Victor Cabrera, team-mate Dilly Duka is in an offside position. He receives the ball and scores the equalizing goal. As soon as Duka received the ball he became actively offside by ‘interfering with play’ and the goal should not have been allowed.

If you look in the background at AR Craig Lowry’s position he is not in line with the second last defender and, therefore, has a distorted angle of Duka in relation to the second last ‘defender’ Kei Kamara. So to Lowry, Duka would have looked onside or level from the line of vision he had.

This again supports the fact that the vast majority of errors are caused by not being in the optimum position both for referees and ARs.

Referees have flexibility with their movements but an AR’s positioning is prescriptive. In these situations it is vitally imperative that they are level with the second last defender to have any chance of making the correct call.

POTW: Click here to read previous Plays of the Week from Paul Rejer

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