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EducationThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 26

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

Week 26 overview

There were four Video Reviews during Week 26, and for the first time a review was recommended for encroachment on the taking of a penalty kick.


MTL vs VAN: Review for a goal (encroachment on a PK) – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Goal.

What Happened: A penalty kick was taken by Vancouver Whitecaps that was saved by goalkeeper Evan Bush (MTL). The rebound was then scored by Tosaint Ricketts (VAN).

The goal was checked as per normal protocol and the VAR recommended a review for a re-take of the penalty kick having identified that Ricketts was clearly inside the penalty area at the moment the ball was kicked. At the same time, he could see that goalkeeper Bush also did not have both feet on the goal line as is required by the current Laws of the Game. This will change next season where only one foot need be on the line.

In cases where both teams have encroached and the penalty is stopped, a retake is mandated.

PRO’s Decision: Video Review protocol only allows for penalty kick intervention when there is “encroachment by an attacker or defender who becomes directly involved in play if the penalty kick rebounds from the goalpost, crossbar or goalkeeper.”

Ricketts was clearly inside the penalty area when the ball was kicked and then he became directly involved by shooting and scoring.

If Bush had not encroached, an indirect freekick for Montreal Impact would have been the correct restart.


PHI vs ATL: Review for goal (offside) – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Goal.

What Happened: A goal was scored by Kacper Przybylko (PHI) and awarded by the on-field match officials.

The VAR could see that Marco Fabián (PHI) had been in an offside position when the ball was initially passed to him by Przybylko before he returned the ball to Przybylko to score.

PRO’s Decision: A Video Review was recommended and having looked at the footage in the RRA the referee disallowed the goal. This was a good, efficient use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error.


VAN vs NYC: Review for a penalty kick – given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Penalty.

What Happened: A penalty kick was awarded to Vancouver Whitecaps when goalkeeper Sean Johnson (NYC) went to ground at the feet of Tosaint Ricketts (VAN) just as Ricketts touched the ball past him. Johnson made no contact on the ball but there was contact between him and Ricketts, who went down.

The referee awarded a penalty kick to Vancouver Whitecaps after he had concluded that Johnson had fouled Ricketts.

The VAR deemed that Ricketts had not been fouled by Johnson and that the award of a penalty kick was a clear and obvious error and thus, recommended a Video Review.

Having seen the situation again, the referee concurred with the VAR that he had made an error and therefore reversed his penalty kick decision, instead awarding a goal kick to New York City which is how the game re-started.

PRO’s Decision: This was a subjective call as the original award of a penalty kick could be supported. The footage showed that there was clear contact between the two players. Johnson had not played the ball, and by going to ground in the way he did, he slid into the path of Ricketts and created the contact. On the other side, an argument can be made that Ricketts somewhat dragged his left leg to ensure that contact happened between them.

The original on-field penalty kick decision did not reach the threshold of a clear and obvious error, as such no Video Review should have been recommended in this case.


DAL vs CIN: Review for red card (violent conduct) – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Not seen by on-field officials.

What Happened: In an off-the-ball incident, Kekuta Manneh (CIN) violently thrust his right hand into the face of Bryan Acosta (DAL) and sent Acosta to the ground. The situation was missed by the on-field officials.

The VAR identified the incident and a Video Review was recommended.

PRO’s Decision: The referee issued a red card to Manneh for violent conduct as there was clear contact to the face with force that was more than negligible. This was a good use of the Video Review system to correctly deal with a serious missed incident.



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