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EducationThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 29

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

Week 29 overview

There were three Video Reviews during Week 29.


SEA vs DAL: Review for red card (serious foul play) – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Play on.

What Happened: There was a challenge between Kim Kee-hee (SEA) and Michael Barrios (DAL) where the referee had allowed play to continue. The referee blew his whistle to end the match two seconds after the challenge.

The VAR saw that there was a possibility of a red card in the challenge and checked the footage.

The Video Review Process:

  • The VAR informed the referee that he had begun a check and not to allow the players involved to leave the field.
  • The referee let the VAR know that he could have had a foul there but decided to end the match.
  • The VAR recommended a Video Review for a red card due to the arm coming into the face of Barrios.
  • After watching the footage at the RRA, the referee did not see a swinging motion and believed it was a reckless use of the arm.

PRO’s Analysis: The challenge by Kim was reckless because the arm was used more as a tool in an attempt to shield Barrios off the ball. Although there is certainly contact to the face of Barrios, there was no swinging motion, bent elbow or closed fist, which are usually indicators of a more serious offense. After he saw the incident in the RRA the referee was correct not to show a red card, however, he was within protocol to issue a yellow card to Kim.


LA vs MTL: Review for offside in APP leading to a goal – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Goal – No offside.

What Happened: A goal was scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA) and awarded by the on-field match officials.

The VAR checked the 18-yard line camera as normal when dealing with possible offside situations, it appeared to the VAR that Cristian Pavón (LA) had been in an offside position when the ball was played to him during the APP. As such, a Video Review was recommended.

The Video Review Process:

  • The VAR started his check of the APP with the first pass, which was headed to Pavón.
  • 0:11 – The kick point was set, and the VAR began to look for the possible offside.
  • 0:15 – The AR alerted the VAR and AVAR that he had the left defender playing Pavón onside.
  • 0:22 – Using the Left 18 camera, the VAR believed that Pavón was clearly in an offside position.
  • 0:28 – The Right 18 camera was brought into the quad; however, Pavón was not visible.
  • 0:35 – After conferring with the AVAR, they decided that Pavón was offside.
  • 0:40 – The VAR began to check the rest of the APP, and confirmed that the goalscorer was onside and there was no handling offense.
  • 1:10 – The VAR recommended a review for offside in the APP.
  • 1:20 – The AVAR alerted the VAR that there may be a defender off the screen.
  • 1:30 – Both the Left 18 and Right 18 were brought together on the screen.
  • 1:40 – The VAR recognized that there was a defender [Daniel Lovitz] that had not been accounted for in his original evaluation and with the combined angles it was no longer clear and obvious that Pavón was offside. The AVAR confirmed that he does not have offside.

PRO’s Decision: Daniel Lovitz (MTL), who could not be seen on the Left 18-yard line camera angle, was sitting deeper than the defenders and could be seen on the Right 18 angle. Lovitz appeared to be playing Pavón onside and, at the very least, his position provided enough evidence to conclude that the on-field decision of onside was not a clear and obvious error. The referee correctly allowed the goal to stand.

The AVAR’s main responsibilities are offside decisions and keeping track of live play while the VAR checks an incident. Taking the information received from the assistant referee [that a left-sided defender was keeping him onside] and recognizing that an unseen defender had come into the image on the Left 18 after the ball was kicked, he alerted the VAR that a combination of cameras was needed to determine offside position properly.


LAFC vs TOR: Review for penalty kick – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Corner kick.

What Happened: In time allowed for stoppages at the end of the game, Chris Mavinga (TFC) challenged Latif Blessing (LAFC) in the Toronto FC penalty area, resulting in Blessing going to ground.
The referee did not identify an offense in the coming together of the two players and awarded a corner kick to Los Angeles FC.

The Video Review Process:

  • The VAR could see that Mavinga made no contact on the ball but made heavy contact on Blessing and knocked him down.
  • He recommended a Video Review for a penalty kick.

PRO’s Decision: This was a clear foul and a penalty kick. The referee correctly changed the on-field decision and awarded a penalty kick to Los Angeles FC. This was a good use of Video Review to correct a clear error.



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