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EducationThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 15

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

Week 15 overview

There were four Video Reviews during Week 15 – two of them dealt with boundary line decisions; one for the goal line and the other for the penalty area line.


NYC vs CIN: Review for violent conduct – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Foul – yellow card

What Happened: During an aerial challenge Justin Hoyte (CIN) challenged for the ball with Anton Tinnerholm (NYC). While moving towards the ball Hoyte’s elbow was already raised and made contact with the cheek of Tinnerholm. On seeing this elbow to cheek contact the VAR recommended a review.

The Video Review Process:

  • AR1 saw the contact and called the original foul; he advised the referee that he felt it was worthy of a yellow card for a reckless use of the arm.
  • Using the Right Low EZ camera the VAR had a good angle to see the contact and recommended a review.
  • The referee watched the Right Low EZ angle twice in slow motion and did not believe there was enough force to rise to the level of violent conduct and retained his decision.

PRO’s Decision: The point of contact is to the face with an elbow, which is a consideration for a possible red card offense. However, Hoyte does not throw his arm back into Tinnerholm and his arm action is one of balance while attempting to challenge for the ball, and not striking. There is a low amount of force in that contact and it can be deemed to be reckless. This was an unnecessary review as it was not a clear and obvious error in the non-showing of a red card for violent conduct.


TFC vs SKC: Review for penalty kick – not given (22nd min)


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Foul – outside the penalty area.

What Happened: A long aerial ball played up to the Sporting Kansas City attacking line was controlled on the chest by Gerso Fernandes (SKC), with his back to goal, just outside the Toronto FC penalty area. In doing so, Fernandes lost balance and continued to move backward. As Fernandes tried to regain balance and push forward towards the ball, Drew Moor (TFC) – who had been chasing back – placed his left hand on the upper chest of Fernandes, who then went to ground. The referee penalized Moor for this action and awarded a direct free-kick to Sporting Kansas City just outside the Toronto FC penalty area, believing that was where the offense had taken place.

The VAR checked the footage and saw that the contact on the chest of Fernandes took place within the penalty area.

The Video Review Process:

  • The VAR checked the footage and using the Left 18 camera got to the moment where the push ended.
  • 20 seconds after the incident he believed the contact was inside the penalty area.
  • The VAR confirmed with the referee that the direct free-kick had been given for the chest contact.
  • At 40 seconds the VAR recommended a review for the foul that occurring inside the penalty area.
  • At the RRA, the VAR showed the referee the point of contact first using the Tight camera angle.
  • After viewing that angle the referee then asked for the Left 18 camera so he could see the position of the foul and then agreed that it was inside the penalty area.

PRO’s Decision: In this situation, once the referee had judged there was an infringement by Moor, the VAR was correct to intervene with a recommendation for a Video Review because the contact was clearly and obviously inside the penalty area.

It is subjective as to how much impact the contact by Moor had, however, it is not possible to conclude that penalizing Moor was a clear and obvious error, as there was certainly some contact on Fernandes.

The referee was correct to award the penalty kick after review, having awarded a free-kick in the first place, and as such this was an appropriate use of the Video Review system.


TFC vs SKC: Review for penalty kick – not given (69th min)


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Play on

What Happened: With the score at 1-1 midway through the second half of the game Sporting Kansas City were attacking the Toronto FC goal. After a give-and-go, Felipe Gutierrez (SKC) ran onto a return ball inside the Toronto FC penalty area. As he did so, he was fouled by Nick DeLeon (TFC), who attempted to play the ball but clearly made contact on Gutierrez before making any contact on the ball and by doing so brought Gutierrez down, thereby denying him an obvious goalscoring opportunity. Goalkeeper Quentin Westberg (TFC) also made contact on the ball, but only after Gutierrez had been fouled.

The VAR checked the footage and on seeing the foul play by DeLeon, the VAR recommended a Video Review.

The referee subsequently awarded a penalty kick to Sporting Kansas City and cautioned DeLeon for denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity.

PRO’s Decision: This was the correct outcome and a good use of the Video Review system. Although the process of reviewing the footage took longer due to the need to determine misconduct.


SJ vs DAL: Review for goal – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Play on

What Happened: A shot by Magnus Eriksson (SJE) was blocked near to the goal line by defender Matt Hedges (DAL). The on-field officials initially allowed play to continue due to uncertainty as to whether all of the ball had crossed all of the goal line.

The Video Review Process:

  • The AR alerted the VAR that he was not sure if the whole ball had crossed the line.
  • In 15 seconds, using the Left 18 camera, the VAR saw that the ball had completely crossed the line.
  • The referee looked at the Left 18 and the Left Goal camera and concluded it was a good goal.
  • The review was completed after 1:50 and the goal was awarded.

PRO’s Decision: This was an excellent use of the Video Review system.



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