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2011 Referee Week in Review

The ussoccer.com Referee Week in Review is designed to address the issues facing referees at all levels by using video highlights from professional games as well as the U.S. National Teams. The Referee Week in Review will highlight specific areas of focus and current U.S. Soccer initiatives designed to improve performance and aid in the development of officials across the country.

Referee Week in Review – Week 31

The Situation: Chicago Fire and D.C. United are tied 1-1 in the 94th minute.

The Play: A pass is played in the vicinity of two Chicago Fire attacking players making runs towards goal as the defense is attempting to hold their line and force an offside call. One of the attackers collects the ball and subsequently passes to a teammate who scores.

The Decision: No offside is called, and the goal is allowed.

My Take: The assistant referee is in perfect position to make this call. Because the play happens so fast and the defense is pulling up, the assistant referee must be sharp and focused. As the ball is played, you can clearly see that the attacking player who receives the pass is in an onside position, and a crucial game-winning goal is correctly allowed.

The Laws of the Game:
Law 11 indicates that a player in an offside position is only penalized if they are, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by: interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage by being in that position. The interpretations of Law 11 further define these elements.

The Situation: Sporting Kansas City and New York Red Bulls are tied 0-0 in the 28th minute.

The Play: A Sporting Kansas City player is on the ground and has his back to an opponent who is running in his direction. The Red Bulls player strikes the player on the ground with his knee.

The Decision: The referee issues a straight red card for violent conduct.

My Take: The contact with the player on the ground was both violent and avoidable. The ball was not in the vicinity, and the player on the ground was defenseless and exposed. The two players had been involved in a challenge moments earlier and the referee correctly sends off the player for the nature of the subsequent misconduct. 

The Laws of the Game:
Law 12 lists the types of misconduct that are subject to being sanctioned with a sending off.

Michael Kennedy is a current MLS referee and has officiated in the league since its founding in 1996. In addition to serving as a professional referee, he has also represented U.S. Soccer as both a FIFA referee and assistant referee.

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