Let's Not Get Into Blame, Let's Just Say "Mistakes Were Made"
MLS carries a clarification of the Youri Djorkaeff offside situation. MLS makes it clear that they don't make the referees, they come from the US Soccer Foundation. USSF makes it clear that while they did give Brian Hall some guidance, it was always subject to further clarification. The key point in the press release is that the RBNY players were offside as they would:
• Interfere with an opponent by clearly obstructing his line of sight. Henderson blocked the vision of the United goalkeeper.
• Interfere with an opponent by making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent. Both Henderson and Stammler, by deliberately moving to this particular offside position solely for the purpose of diverting the United goalkeeper's attention, violated this requirement...For these reasons, the goal by Djorkaeff should have been disallowed.
I would point out that while MLS admits this:
In its annual team meeting with the Red Bulls, MLS staff discussed changes in the offside rules with the Red Bulls with the understanding that the interpretation of interference with play or an opponent remained a decision for the referee based on many variables as further explained in this memo.They also say this:
Major League Soccer is affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer) and as such has its Game officials assigned by U.S. Soccer, which also has the responsibility for education, training and the assessment of officials according to FIFA requirements.
In case you're wondering, I don't blame Brian Hall for this. Nor do I even blame RBNY, as if I had asked a question such as Meola is said to have asked, and gotten the response I got, then I damn well would be intructing my players to do the same before some other coach figured out the game and did it to me. No, for whatever reason, MLS/FIFA/USSF were not on the same page regarding the current interpretations of offside rulings, and that preseason explanation was botched. Fine. Moving on now.