A player in an Offside Position is fouled by a defender before the attacker can interfere with play by touching the ball. I realize this is similar to the question you answered on June 18, 2009; however, I am still unsure of the correct interpretation.
Does the fact that the attacker was close enough to the defender to be fouled by him automatically make it a case of Interfering with an Opponent? If not, what must the Referee and AR consider to determine if Offside and IDFK by the defense or Foul and DFK/PK for the attackers?
Does it make a difference if the attacker was showing by his action that he had no intention of playing the ball? What if the defender was in a position to play the ball but instead moved to the attacker and fouled (held, pushed, etc.) him?
USSF answer (April 5, 2010):
We see no reason to depart from the earlier answer: the attacking player is interfering with an opponent and should thus be called offside.
It may be possible that you have misunderstood what it takes to interfere with an opponent as a means of committing an offside offense. Two ways of interfering are to be in the path of the defender at the time (thus blocking or hindering his movement) or to be in the line of sight of the defender — usually the goalkeeper — and thus block the defender’s vision of the play. These two situations involve only BEING someplace. The third way is to MOVE — in the opinion of the referee — to distract or deceive the defender. If a defender goes up to an attacker in an offside position and whacks him in some way (kicks, trips, holds, etc.), this is clearly a foul by the defender and does not, in and of itself, constitute an action by the attacker which was intended to distract or deceive.
Is such a thing possible? Of course, but the probability for being sure about it is very low.