The USMNT are hoping to punch their ticket to the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup and hold a 1-0 lead over Iran heading into halftime. This lead could have and probably should have been 2-0 on Tim Weah’s nifty touch past the Iranian goalkeeper but the side referee raised the offside flag.
So. Close.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 29, 2022
An offside call rules out a potential second goal for the USMNT pic.twitter.com/mKGnvpQi0m
A quick explainer on offside: the offensive player must be at least in line with the last on-field defender when a pass is made. This rule is only applicable in the defending team’s half of the field and doesn’t apply when there are no defenders in the picture. For example, two offensive players could keep passing to each other if only the goalkeeper is in the frame on the breakaway. Basically, you can’t cherry-pick your way to a goal by camping out ahead of everyone else. On the freeze frame, it looks like Weah is in line with the last on-field defender.
The angle might be deceiving but there’s no way a referee on the far side can spot that so quickly without a video review. The fact this didn’t even go to VAR is a bit odd, because that’s not as simple a call as it was made out to be in real time.
Arms don’t count as part of the offside guidance, so the defender’s arm doesn’t help Weah stay onside here.