The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 17

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

Week 17 overview
There were four Video Reviews during Week 17.


NE vs NSH: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – given


What Happened: A penalty kick was awarded to New England Revolution when Gustavo Bou (NE) went down in the Nashville penalty area under a challenge from Jalil Anibaba. The referee judged in real-time that Anibaba had brought Bou down when he extended his right leg out, deeming he had made contact with Bou but without making contact on the ball. The VAR could see there was no foul contact between the players.

On-field decision: Penalty kick.
Type of review: No penalty.
Final decision after review: No penalty.
Length of review: 3:34.

PRO’s Opinion: Anibaba’s right leg had been planted short of Bou, who twisted his body as he went down and kicked out his own right leg towards Anibaba in an attempt to create contact. The penalty award was a clear and obvious error. Additionally, Bou should have received a yellow card after Video Review for simulation.


ORL vs MIA: Review for goal (offside in APP) – not given


What Happened: A goal was scored by Tesho Akindele (ORL) and awarded by the on-field match officials. On checking the goal, the VAR could see that Akindele was in an offside position when the ball was crossed into the Inter Miami goal area by teammate Kyle Smith (ORL). Although the cross was saved by goalkeeper Nick Marsman (MIA) and then deflected off defender Jorge Figal (MIA), Akindele still gained an advantage when the ball came to him before scoring, and therefore he committed an offside offense.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside.
Final decision after review: No goal.
Length of review: 2:04.

PRO’s Opinion: The goal was correctly canceled. This was a good use of the Video Review system.


MTL vs ATL: Review for red card (violent conduct) – not given


What Happened: Josef Martínez (ATL) had challenged goalkeeper James Pantemis (MTL) for the ball, after which, Victor Wanyama (MTL) confronted Martínez in the CF Montréal goal area. Both players went chest to chest before Martínez then used both hands to push Wanyama away; Wanyama then moved forward and placed his left hand onto the neck of Martínez, before violently pushing him backward using the hand on the neck as the point of force. As he did so, Martínez reacted by swinging his right hand towards the face of Wanyama in a slapping motion, although it is not clear if contact was made.

Having not fully seen the extent of the physical violence used, the referee cautioned both players for showing a lack of respect for the game. The VAR recommended a Video Review for violent conduct.

On-field decision: Yellow cards (showing a lack of respect for the game) for Martínez and Wanyama.
Type of review: Red cards (violent conduct) for Martínez and Wanyama.
Final decision after review: Red cards for Martínez and Wanyama.
Length of review: 2:58.

PRO’s Opinion: The referee rescinded his initial yellow cards and issued both players with red cards. While the actions of both players sit at the lower end of the violent conduct scale, neither can have any complaints at being sent off. Both used forceful contact against their opponent’s neck/face, which was more than negligible.


LAFC vs SKC: Review for penalty kick (in or out) – given


What Happened: A penalty kick was awarded to Los Angeles FC for a foul challenge by defender Andreu Fontàs (SKC) on Mamadou Fall (LAFC). Fontàs slid into the challenge and failed to make any contact on the ball, but he made very clear contact on Fall, thereby bringing him down. The offense had occurred near to the top of the Sporting Kansas City penalty area, and the referee judged in real-time that it had occurred just inside the area, hence the award of the penalty kick. The VAR could see that the foul had happened just outside the penalty area.

On-field decision: Penalty kick.
Type of review: Direct freekick and yellow card (SPA).
Final decision after review: Direct freekick and yellow card.
Length of review: 1:25.

PRO’s Opinion: The referee reversed his original penalty decision and awarded a direct freekick to Los Angeles FC outside the penalty area. He also issued a yellow card to Fontàs for stopping a promising attack. Such a yellow card is not required when an offense that stops a promising attack is a genuine attempt for the ball (which this was) and happens inside the penalty area. However, because this offense happened outside the area, a yellow card was required once the location of the offense had been established through Video Review.