Columbus had Saturday's game well in hand with a 3-1 lead heading into the home stretch then Clint Dempsey scored a 75th minute goal to make the game 3-2. Crew SC fans were livid with the decision, thinking that Dempsey or even Obafemi Martins were offside on the play. The Professional Referee Organization chimed today in a blog post and confirmed that they got the call wrong.
From Paul Rejer the Training & Development Manager from PRO.
So when Martins has a shot on goal, Dempsey is still in an offside position, slightly ahead of the ball. The ball is then parried by the goalkeeper and goes directly to Dempsey who has now 'gained an advantage by being in that position' and the goal is incorrectly allowed to stand.
So Dempsey was offside twice and Steve Clark's save was not a deliberate play. This doesn't get into the recent FIFA emphasis on passive offside laws creates an even bigger grey area. Dempsey was off.
The other interesting part the play was the responses by referee Edvin Jurisevic. He provided far more detailed answers than referees usually give when asked by the press. He should be lauded for that decision, but it does bring up an interesting inconsistency. Jurisevic's answers to the Pool Reporter quotes as asked by Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch:
Were Martins or Dempsey offside on the second Seattle goal?
The answer is no, [Obafemi] Martins was judged to be onside and [Clint] Dempsey was judged to be even with the ball and they were therefore judged onside on the field.
Was the linesman in position to see it?
The assistant referee was slightly behind the play.
Did you consider the shot a deflection or a play by Steve Clark?
It was judged to be a deliberate save.
Assistant referee Jonathan Johnson was behind the play and that impacted his view on Dempsey,
but Jurisevic curiously calls Clark's save a deliberate save and Dempsey does not "gain an advantage". That contradicts the 2014/2015 FIFA interpretation of Law 11 (PDF) dealing with offside calls:
EDIT: Jursevic was correctly applying the law, I just read his responses incorrectly. A "deliberate save" is not the same as "Deliberately played". If Clark "played" the ball, that would have wiped out the offside call. Here he's adjudged to have "saved" and Dempsey IS gaining an advantage.
"gaining an advantage by being in that position" means playing a ball
i. that rebounds or is deflected to him off the goalpost, crossbar or an
opponent having been in an offside position
ii. that rebounds, is deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save
by an opponent having been in an offside position
Blown calls happen and Dempsey was in a very close position. It was a tough call happening at full speed, but it turns out that close call was the only thing that Juresevic and his crew missed on a quickly unfolding play.