The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 13

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

Week 13 overview
There were five Video Reviews during Week 13.


CLB vs LAFC: Review for goal (offside) – not given


What Happened: A goal was scored by Yaw Yeboah (CLB) and awarded by the on-field match officials. On checking footage of the goal, the VAR saw that Yeboah was in an offside position when the ball was headed to him by teammate Miguel Berry (CLB) just before he scored. As such, the VAR recommended a Video Review, and after looking at the images for himself at the RRA, the referee correctly disallowed the goal.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside.
Final decision after review: No goal.
Length of review: 1:30.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a very efficient and effective use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error.


NYCFC vs CHI: Review for penalty kick (handball) – not given


What Happened: A ball headed back across the Chicago Fire penalty area by Heber (NYC) was blocked by defender Miguel Navarro (CHI). The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and awarded a corner kick, but when the VAR checked the footage of the incident, he saw that the ball had been blocked by the outstretched left arm of Navarro, which was unjustifiably positioned, making himself unnaturally bigger.

As such, the VAR recommended a Video Review for a possible penalty kick to New York City, which the referee correctly awarded after looking at the footage at the RRA.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick – handball.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 1:28.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good, effective use of the Video review system to rectify a clear and obvious on-field error.


COL vs SEA: Review for penalty kick (in or out) – not given


What Happened: Raúl Ruidíaz (SEA) went down close to the edge of the Colorado Rapids penalty area under a challenge from Steven Beitashour (SEA).

The referee waved away the appeals, but when the VAR checked the footage, he saw that Beitashour’s right foot had kicked the right foot of Ruidiaz after the Seattle Sounders player had cut the ball back. The VAR formed the opinion that the non-award of a penalty kick was a clear and obvious error and therefore recommended a Video Review.

However, when at the RRA screen, the referee could not be sure that the contact between the two players had occurred inside the penalty area. He felt the images were inconclusive and that the non-award of a penalty kick was not a clear and obvious error and retained his no-penalty decision. He restarted the game with a goal kick to Colorado Rapids.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick – foul.
Final decision after review: Goal kick.
Length of review: 3:06.

PRO’s Opinion: The referee couldn’t be certain that the non-awarding of a penalty kick was a clear error. PRO would’ve preferred that the VAR did not recommend a Video Review in this case. However, even though Ruidiaz did embellish the contact, having seen that Beitashour did not play the ball and was responsible for the contact by kicking the foot of Ruidiaz, the referee should have restarted with a direct freekick to Seattle Sounders just outside the penalty area if he didn’t have the necessary certainty to award a penalty kick.


POR vs PHI: Review for goal (offside in APP) – not given


What Happened: A goal was scored by Sebastián Blanco (POR) and awarded by the on-field referee. The VAR saw that an offside offense had occurred in the APP when Josecarlos Van Rankin (POR) had headed the ball on to teammate Santiago Moreno (POR). The latter was in an offside position before he had his shot saved on the goal line with the ball rebounding off the save to Blanco to score.

Although the offside position of Moreno was clear on the angles available, the VAR had to do additional examination of the footage to confirm that Van Rankin had touched the ball with his head.

When he was satisfied that the touch did occur, he recommended a Video Review so the goal could be disallowed. However, the checking phase took too long, as did the review phase once the referee had reached the RRA screen. Because of the length of the process, the outcome, while being correct, lacked credibility.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside.
Final decision after review: No goal.
Length of review: 4:05.

PRO’s Opinion: The footage does show that Van Rankin touched the ball, albeit slightly, but the manner in which it was being examined initially by the VAR and then by the referee at the screen did not make the touch as obvious as it otherwise could have been if they had looked faster. This was a disappointing process to reach a correct outcome.


ATX vs ORL: Review for red card (violent conduct) – not given


What Happened: As a ball was being crossed from the right into the Orlando City penalty by Alex Ring (ATX), he was being challenged by César Araújo (ORL), who went to ground. After the cross, with Ring still on his feet and Araújo on the ground in front of him, the Orlando City player kicked out violently and with brutality into the groin of Ring, making contact in a sensitive area.

The match officials missed the incident in real-time, but the cameras captured Araújo’s violent act, and when the VAR saw the footage, he recommended a Video Review for a red card to be issued. Having seen the images for himself at the RRA, the referee agreed that the actions of Araújo were red card-worthy and sent him off.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Red card (violent conduct).
Final decision after review: Red card.
Length of review: 1:50.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to deal with a serious missed incident and ensure an act of violent conduct was punished appropriately.