The Definitive Angle is PRO’s analysis of the week’s Video Review use in MLS.
There were three Video Reviews during Week 19.
SEA vs POR: Review for penalty kick (handball) – not given
What Happened: A shot by Santiago Moreno (POR) was blocked defender Nouhou Tolo (SEA) within the Seattle Sounders penalty area. The referee awarded a corner kick to Portland Timbers.
When the VAR checked footage of the incident, he saw that Tolo had used his outstretched left arm, which was extended away from his body, making himself unnaturally bigger, to create a barrier for the ball to block its progress towards goal. A Video Review was recommended, and when the referee saw the images for himself at the RRA, he concurred with the VAR and changed his corner kick decision to a penalty kick to Portland Timbers, and he cautioned Tolo for stopping a promising attack by handball.
On-field decision: Corner kick.
Type of review: Penalty kick – handball
Final decision after review: Penalty and yellow card (stopping a promising attack).
Length of review: 1:28.
PRO’s Opinion: This was the correct outcome and a very good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious on-field error.
CLT vs NSH: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – not given
What Happened: Hany Mukhtar (NSH) went down in the Charlotte FC penalty area under challenge from Harrison Afful (CLT), but the referee did not identify an offense in real-time. The VAR saw that Mukhtar had used his right foot to poke the ball past Afful as the Charlotte FC defender lunged in; Afful failed to make any contact with the ball but made contact into Mukhtar and brought him down.
The VAR recommended a Video Review, and when the referee saw the images for himself at the RRA, he agreed with the VAR and awarded a penalty kick to NSH.
On-field decision: Goal kick.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 2:17.
PRO’s Opinion: This was a good, effective use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious on-field error.
What Happened: The referee penalized Miguel Navarro (CHI) for a foul challenge on Luis Díaz (CLB), which was deemed in real-time as reckless use of the arm. Navarro was issued a yellow card for the offense, and as this was his second yellow card of the game, he was also shown the red card.
The VAR formed the opinion that Navarro had used his arm in a violent manner, using excessive force to strike Díaz to the head. He recommended a Video Review for a straight red card to be issued to Navarro. After looking at the footage for himself at the RRA, the referee concurred with the VAR and changed his second yellow card decision to a direct red one.
On-field decision: Second yellow card (reckless challenge).
Type of review: Direct red card (violent conduct).
Final decision after review: Direct red card.
Length of review: 2:37.
PRO’s Opinion: Although this made no material difference to this match, PRO would have preferred for the Video Review not to have been recommended in this case. The initial decision to show a yellow card was not clearly wrong.
Navarro was challenging for the ball and using his arm to create space. He made contact using the forearm rather than the elbow, and the arm was pushed towards his opponent rather than in a striking motion.
There was some force, and the contact was to the head; hence this is a subjective matter. A red card would also not be incorrect, but once the second yellow card had been issued and Navarro dismissed, PRO feels the VAR should not have intervened.