Thanks for a wonderful resource and for the recent elaboration on the interpretations applicable to deliberate handling vs. offside.
I was hoping you could provide some similar guidance with respect to offside (by interfering with an opponent) vs. a penal foul against the player in offside position (OSP).
(1) an attacker in OSP at the time of a cross goes up alongside a defender to challenge for a header, and is carelessly pushed by the defender — offside for interfering with a player, or push on the defender?
(2) an attacker in OSP at the time of a cross is running towards the far post, but the cross is to the near post, and the attacker is carelessly tripped from behind by a defender chasing to catch up -offside (interfering with the defender by movement that distracted), or tripping foul?
And on a more general note, should the OSP status at the time the ball was played have any influence on the determination of whether contact should be deemed trifling?
USSF answer (June 18, 2009):
(1) Offside for interfering with an opponent. There is always the possibility of a caution for the defending player who pushed, but that would depend on whether the referee needed it for game management purposes.
(2) Offside for interfering with an opponent.
As to trifling, the answer is pretty generally yes.