The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 18

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

Week 18 overview
There were two Video Reviews during Week 18.


CLB vs ATL: Review for goal (offside in APP) – not given


What Happened: A goal was scored by Derrick Etienne (CLB) and awarded by the on-field officials. The VAR could see that Etienne was in an offside position when the ball was headed onto him by teammate Jonathan Mensah (CLB) before he ran through to score.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside.
Final decision after review: No goal.
Length of review: 1:15.

PRO’s Opinion: The offside offense was clear and obvious on review. The referee cancelled the goal and awarded an indirect free kick to Atlanta United. This was a good, efficient use of the Video Review system.


POR vs RSL: Review for penalty kick (handball) – not given


What Happened: Portland Timbers appealed for a penalty kick when George Fochive (POR) and Toni Datković (RSL) challenged for an aerial ball. Fochive won the challenge by rising highest and heading the ball, which was then blocked by the left arm of Datković, which was raised way above his head. The VAR formed the opinion that Datković had committed a handball offense due to the unnatural position of his arm. The referee agreed with the VAR and awarded a penalty kick to Portland Timbers.

On-field decision: Play on – corner.
Type of review: Penalty kick – handball.
Final decision after review: Penalty kick.
Length of review: 1:45.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error, and to reach a correct outcome. The position of Datković’s arm was not natural because it could not be reasonably justified for the playing action he was engaged in. Even when challenging for an aerial ball, it would not be normal for his arm to be in that position. Furthermore, the arm moved late after the initial jump, this was a further consideration to support the conclusion that the arm was not in a natural position when the ball made contact with it. Importantly, there was no foul challenge by Forchive on Datković which could have contributed to the arm being in the position it was.