The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 25

The Definitive Angle is PRO’s analysis of the week’s Video Review use in MLS.

Week 25 overview

There were seven Video Reviews during Week 25.


DC vs RBNY: Review for a red card (violent conduct) – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Corner kick.

What Happened: Just prior to the taking of a corner kick Wayne Rooney (DC) and Cristian Cásseres Jr (RBNY) came together on the edge of the six-yard box. Rooney struck Cásseres Jr in the neck with his right forearm, with force. The referee did not see the incident and allowed play to continue.

The Video Review Process:

  • The referee informed the VAR that he had not seen what had happened.
  • 0:50 – Using the Low Left EZ angle, the VAR decided to recommend a review.
  • The referee viewed the incident and concluded the offense was worthy of a red card, however, he asked whether the ball is in play or not. Combining the Right 18 and Left EZ angles, they saw that the corner kick had not yet been taken.

PRO’s Decision: This was a good use of the Video Review to correctly show a red card for a missed incident of violent conduct that happened out of the view of the referee. Rooney made unnecessary forceful contact to the neck of his opponent that was more than negligible. If the ball had been in play, then the offense would have also resulted in a penalty kick.


LAFC vs SJ: Review for penalty kick (handling) – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Play on.

What Happened: After a short corner, a shot was taken by Lee Nguyen (LAFC) that was blocked by Aníbal Godoy (SJ). Godoy had turned away from the ball, but in doing so, his left hand was away from his body and blocked the ball.

The referee initially felt that the ball had struck the right arm which was tucked in and close to the body.

The Video Review Process:

  • 0:20 – The VAR checked the footage and saw that the hand was away from the body and had blocked the ball, and he recommended a review.
  • 0:50 – The referee saw the Tight angle and had a penalty kick.
  • 1:00 – The referee asked to see an angle from behind the goal so he could determine if it was a DOGSO offense or not.
  • 1:15 – On seeing that there were several defenders still behind the ball, he decided it was not a DOGSO offense and stated that he would give a penalty.

PRO’s Decision: This is a handling offense because the hand was open and away from the body, making the player bigger. This was a good efficient use of Video Review that took one minute and 20 seconds to complete.


LAFC vs SJ: Review for a foul in APP leading to a goal – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Goal.

What Happened: Adama Diomande (LAFC) dribbled towards goal with the ball at this feet when he was challenged by Florian Jungwirth (SJ). Diomande, while attempting to shield off Jungwirth, hit him in the face with his right hand. This foul contact caused Jungwirth to go down, and he was no longer able to defend as Diomande went on to score.

In live play, the referee had not recognized where Diomande had made contact and had allowed play to continue because he saw the action as a normal play.

This incident was clearly in the APP leading to the goal, so the VAR checked it and saw using the Low EZ right angle that Diomande’s hand was clearly on the face of Jungwirth and that this was a clear foul and he recommended a review.

PRO’s Decision: Diomande’s contact to the face was a foul that would normally be called anywhere on the field if it had been seen by the referee. The VAR was correct to recommend a Video Review, the referee correctly rescinded the goal and restarted with a direct free kick for San Jose.


TOR vs MTL: Review for penalty kick (handling) – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Play on.

What Happened: In time allowed for stoppages at the end of the game, a shot by Marco Delgado (TFC) was blocked in the Montreal Impact penalty area on its route towards goal by the outstretched right arm of Bacary Sagna (MTL). Sagna was almost certainly trying to block the shot with his elevated right foot, but in doing so, he had brought up his right arm simultaneously into a position which clearly made his body bigger and took the space into which the ball was moving.

The referee allowed play to continue having not recognized a handball offense.

The Video Review Process:

  • 0:20 – The VAR first checked to see if the ball had struck the hand of Sagna and asked the referee for what he saw live.
  • 0:30 – The referee explained that he saw the ball strike the arm of the defender but that it was close to the body.
  • 0:45 – 0:55 – The VAR noted that the ball was not redirected and the arm was extended well away from the body.
  • 1 min – Before he recommended a review, the VAR checked the APP.
  • The referee viewed the Right 18 and Left 18 angles in the RRA.

PRO’s Decision: The ball made contact with the arm near to the wrist/hand, which was well away from the body, and it did so directly without being deflected from another body part. The review was correctly recommended; however, the referee retained his original no-penalty decision, feeling the action of Sagna was a natural part of him raising his foot when trying to stop the ball that way.


NYC v RBNY: Review violent conduct – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Free kick.

What Happened: In time allowed for stoppages at the end of the game, Ronald Matarrita (NYC) committed a reckless foul challenge for which he was correctly cautioned. However, in the aftermath of the challenge, there was a confrontation between players from both teams, during which Matarrita thrust his head into the chest of Michael Murillo (RBNY) in a headbutting action. This act of violent conduct was not seen by the referee, whose view was somewhat obscured by the body Murillo.

PRO’s Decision: The referee looked at the footage at the RRA and having done so issued a red card to Matarrita for violent conduct. This was the correct outcome and a good use of the Video Review system.


RSL vs COL: Review offside in APP leading to a goal – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Goal.

What Happened: A goal was scored by Damir Kreilach (RSL) near to the end of the game.

The VAR could see that Jefferson Savarino (RSL) had moved back from an offside position during the APP to become involved in play and recommended a review for no goal.

PRO’s Decision: This was an unusual and difficult situation for the assistant referee to call in real-time, as several seconds passed between the last touch from a Real Salt Lake player and the playing of the ball by Savarino, with the ball deflecting off an opponent, and then other players almost touching/playing the ball but not being able to do so, in between.

This was an excellent use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error in a very important but difficult and somewhat complex situation.


DAL vs HOU: Review for offside in APP leading to a goal – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Goal.

What Happened: A goal was scored by Jesús Ferreira (DAL).

The VAR saw that Ricardo Pepi (DAL) was in an offside position during the APP when the ball came into the Houston Dynamo penalty area before Ferreira scored. Pepi was close to defender Aljaz Struna (HOU), who attempted to intercept the ball to Ferreira but without success. The VAR also saw contact between the two players and concluded that Pepi had interfered with an opponent from an offside position and recommended a Video Review for the goal to be disallowed.

PRO’s Decision: Although Pepi was in an offside position when the ball came into the penalty area, and he was close to Struna, it was actually Struna who was holding Pepi, his arm extended out and grabbed the shirt of Pepi. Pepi was not the one instigating contact, and thus was not interfering with an opponent.

As such, this Video Review should not have been recommended and the goal should have stood.