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EducationPlay of the Week

Play of the Week 28: DOGSO and the importance of fitness

In last week’s Play of the Week, we discussed DOGSO (Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity). As all three plays occurred outside of the penalty area, the law change does not apply.

We asked you to apply the law criteria and fill in the blanks, and promised a prize to the most accurate and best explanation. As a reminder, the three clips were from the following games:

Clip 1: Seattle Sounders v LA Galaxy – Referee Drew Fischer
Clip 2: Chicago Fire v New York Red Bulls – Referee Alan Kelly
Clip 3: New York City FC v Portland Timbers – Referee Ismail Elfath

In this week’s POTW we are giving you PRO’s verdict on the three plays and discussing another potential DOGSO situation from Week 28.

Reminder of Law
“The following Law considerations must be examined:
– Distance between the offense and goal
– General direction of the play
– Likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
– Location and number of defenders”

PRO’s opinion

When deliberating these three DOGSO incidents there is no real doubt that the first three law considerations apply in each one, namely;
– Distance between the offense and goal
– General direction of the play
– Likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball

It was the fourth consideration that caused most debate:
– Location and number of defenders

In the first clip from Seattle Sounders v LA Galaxy, there is one defender — Chad Marshall. Marshall is in close proximity and level with Jermaine Jones, and has the ability to intercept and make a challenge, particularly as Jones slows down his movements.

We therefore believe that this did not fulfil all the DOGSO criteria and Roman Torres should not have been sent off.

In the second clip from the game between Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls, there is one defender, Jonathan Campbell, who is the wrong side to challenge Bradley Wright-Phillips as he has already been outpaced and outfought for the ball. Second defender Johan Kappelhof is behind the play, and isn’t close enough to challenge.

We therefore believe that this met all the DOGSO criteria and Campbell should have been sent off.

The third and final clip is from New York City FC v Portland Timbers. Initially the defender, David Guzman, makes a legitimate tackle for the ball. He only commits a foul when he realises that Maxi Moralez will be able to get up and beat him to the ball. By the time the foul is made, fellow defender Roy Miller, who is covering, would be able to challenge. So would Larrys Mabiala, as he is moving at pace. Moralez is on the floor, with no foul committed to take him to ground.

We believe this is not DOGSO – a caution is correct for stopping a promising attack.

The prize winner is Kenneth Manyari-Magro, who submitted his answers on our Facebook page, but a huge thanks to all who contributed!

In this week’s Play of the Week, there have been several queries about a potential DOGSO situation in the game between Atlanta United and Orlando City.

As United’s Miguel Almiron is heading towards goal, City’s Jonathan Spector makes a sliding tackle and Almiron goes down under the challenge. One aspect of DOGSO before the considerations is that there must be a foul first. Was this a foul tackle?

Rewind the play. You will see referee Jair Marrufo positioned around the Atlanta penalty area as Orlando are attacking. Suddenly the play switches when Atlanta gain possession of the ball. Marrufo has to switch from running backwards to accelerating and sprinting at full speed. Nearside AR Frank Anderson also demonstrates his work rate displaying a great burst of speed to keep up with the ball and the players.

At the time Spector makes his tackle, Marrufo has made up enough ground to see that Spector has won the ball cleanly and Anderson is perfectly positioned to confirm no foul. Any contact with Almiron is purely incidental.

Even if you felt the follow through by Spector was a foul, the initial play on the ball would put into doubt the consideration of “likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball” as the ball was moving away at a fast pace. However, once they have decided that there is no foul then they do not have to take into account DOGSO considerations.

This is where referees’ professional pre-match preparation pays off. In the modern game, it is of vital importance that referees ensure they are in peak condition and fitter and more mobile than the players. This is a great testament to the officials whose ages average more than the players.

This level of fitness is not only a demonstration of Marrufo and Anderson’s dedication and hard work, but the training and fitness program provided by our Director of Performance and Sports Science Matt Hawkey and his team.


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