The Professional Referee Organization, the body that governs referees in MLS, on Tuesday supported and explained the decision to allow Jordan Hamilton's 45th-minute goal during Toronto FC's 3-2 victory over the New England Revolution on Sunday.
Although Jay Chapman was in an offside position when TFC teammate Ayo Akinola tried to play him down the left, PRO states he was played back onside because defender Antonio Mlinar Delamea made a "deliberate play on the ball." What does that mean exactly? Let Alan Black, PRO's head of coaching, education and evaluation, explain.
"To clarify the position, FIFA have also provided the following considerations for what constitutes a ‘deliberate’ play on the ball:
- A defender goes to play the ball – conscious action
- The defender has time and options
- The defender has control of his actions – not the outcome of the action
- There is distance and space between the pass and the defender playing the ball
Therefore, using the Laws of the Game and these considerations, in the situation from Sunday’s game the New England defender was correctly deemed by the officials to have deliberately played the ball."
Delamea was trying to intercept the pass, but only deflected it onto the path of Chapman, whose service set up Hamilton's first goal of the season.
Friedel understood the rationale behind the call at the time, though he thought it was a flawed interpretation.
“He’s in an offside position when the pass is made to him, and that is why Toni had to lunge for the ball," Friedel said after the game. “I think if you ask anybody in the game, ‘Do you think that was offside?’ they would all say, ‘Yes, and we don’t agree with the rule.’ So why is the rule the way it is?”
Michael Mancienne, the New England defender who was ultimately beaten on the cross that followed in the unusual sequence, weighed in with his thoughts after the match: