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EducationThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 24

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

Week 24 overview

There were five Video Reviews during Week 24 – three of those resulted in a recommendation to rescind a penalty kick that had been awarded.


POR vs CHI: Review for a red card (violent conduct) – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Play on.

What Happened: With Julio Cascante (POR) following behind, Aleksandar Katai (CHI) first pushed him away with his right arm and then swung his left arm and hit Cascante in the face. This action occurred behind the referee’s back and was not seen by the on-field officials.

The Video Review Process:

  • As is normal procedure, the VAR checked to see why a player had gone down behind the play.
  • The VAR found the incident and began to look for the best angle.
  • Using the Game camera, he identified a red card 25 seconds into the check.
  • Before he recommended a review, he checked the yellow card incident that happened in front of the bench to make sure that the tackle was not a missed red card.
  • 1:10 – The VAR recommended a review for a red card to Katai and showed the referee the Game camera angle in slow motion.
  • 2:45 – The referee issued a red card.

PRO’s Decision: This was a good use of the Video Review to correctly show a red card for missed incident of violent conduct that happened out of the view of the referee.


CHI vs PHI: Review for red card (serious foul play) – given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Red card (serious foul play).

What Happened: Nicolás Gaitán (CHI) was issued a red card for what the referee deemed to be a serious foul play challenge on Jamiro Monteiro (PHI).

The referee felt the challenge involved excessive force and endangered the safety of the opponent from Gaitan’s lunging motion with studs exposed. He also felt there was contact on the Achilles of Monteiro.

The Video Review Process:

  • The referee referenced over the communication system, to the VAR, that he had seen contact on the Achilles tendon.
  • The VAR saw that there was no contact from the studs on the Achilles, and did not feel other factors elevated the challenge to a red card in the absence of contact on the Achilles. He recommended a Video Review.
  • The referee viewed the incident using three different angles at different speeds.
  • Even though the footage showed there was no stud contact on the Achilles, the referee still felt the challenge was worthy of a red card sanction because it involved a lunge and there was little opportunity for Gaitán to play the ball.

PRO’s Decision: In full speed, it’s understandable why the referee came to a red card decision. It’s pretty unusual to see a red card given by the referee result in a recommendation for Video Review; there are usually elements of a red card to be found. However, this was a good recommendation for review.

Although there was low chance of Gaitán playing the ball fairly in this situation, there was no stud contact, the back leg does not come through and the legs are kept sufficiently open to avoid the opponent’s foot from becoming trapped. This was a reckless foul challenge because it lacked the level of force or danger to the opponent. The red card decision should have been changed to yellow.


RSL vs LAFC: Review for penalty kick (handball) – given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Penalty kick and red card for denial of a goal.

What Happened: A penalty kick was awarded to Los Angeles Football Club when a shot from point-blank range by Adama Diomande (LAFC) was blocked on the line by Aaron Herrera (RSL), thereby preventing a goal. Herrera’s left arm was extended away from his body when he blocked the ball and the referee believed the ball hit his arm. As such, he awarded a penalty kick to Los Angeles Football Club and issued a red card to Herrera for denying a goal by handball.

The Video Review Process:

  • 0:20 – Using the Left EZ and the Goal Cam the VAR saw that the ball had come off the chest of the defender and not his arm.
  • The VAR waited for the referee to complete his on-field decision by showing the red card to Herrera and then recommended a review.
  • The referee viewed the Goal Camera angle once and agreed it was not a handball.

PRO’s Decision: The ball had made no contact with the arm of Herrera and had been blocked by the left side of his torso. The referee correctly canceled the penalty kick, rescinded the red card to Herrera, and re-started the game with a drop ball.


LA vs SEA: Review for foul in APP leading to a penalty kick – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Penalty kick.

What Happened: A penalty kick was awarded to LA Galaxy when Jonathan dos Santos went down in the Seattle Sounders penalty area under a challenge from Cristian Roldan (SEA).

The VAR checked the footage and it showed that Dos Santos had used his left arm in the APP to control the ball, before he played the ball past Roldan. This handball offense had gone unseen by the on-field match officials.

PRO’s Decision: The referee canceled the penalty kick decision and awarded Seattle Sounders a direct free-kick for handball. This was the correct outcome and a good use of the Video Review system.


MIN vs ORL: Review for offside in the APP leading to a penalty – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Penalty kick.

What Happened: In time allowed for stoppages at the end of the game, a penalty kick was awarded to Orlando City when the left arm of Chase Gasper (MIN) blocked a pass from Tesho Akindele (ORL) in the Minnesota United penalty area. Gasper’s arm was extended away from his body, which made himself bigger and took away the space that the ball was moving through.

The Video Review Process:

  • 0:10 – The VAR first checked to see if there was a handball offense and agreed with the decision.
  • 0:20 – The VAR went back to the start of the APP, which was the first pass near midfield.
  • 0:35 – On seeing the possible offside position of Akindele, he found the exact kickpoint where the ball was last played by a teammate.
  • 0:58 – After the incident, the VAR recommended a Video Review for offside.

PRO’s Decision: The penalty was canceled and Minnesota United was awarded an in-direct free-kick for offside. This was the correct decision and a very good, efficient use of the VAR system to rectify a clear and obvious error in a match critical situation.



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