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EducationThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 31

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

Week 31 overview

There were four Video Reviews during Week 31.


DC vs CIN: Review for violent conduct – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: No misconduct – missed incident.

What Happened: In the confrontation which occurred after the challenge by Joseph-Claude Gyau (CIN) and subsequent red card, Roland Lamah (CIN) and Felipe Martins (DC) exchanged heated words, after which Lamah thrust his left hand with force into the throat of Felipe, and pushed him to the ground.

The Video Review Process:

  • 0-0:33 – The VAR first looked at the tackle by Gyau and waited for the on-field decision to be confirmed. As soon as the red card was shown, the VAR agreed with the decision and was ready to complete the check.
  • 0:45 – The AVAR informed the VAR that Lamah had pushed a player down.
  • 1:00 – The VAR found the incident on the Right 18 and was going to recommend a review for violent conduct.
  • 1:30 – The VAR explained to the referee that the check was completed on the red card to Gyau but he recommended a review for Lamah for violent conduct.

PRO’s Decision: Lamah’s actions were certainly violent. The referee correctly issued a red card to Lamah for violent conduct. This was the correct outcome and a good use of Video Review.


DC vs CIN: Review for offside in APP – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Goal.

What Happened: A goal was scored by Ulises Segura (DC) and awarded by the on-field match officials.

The Video Review Process:

  • On checking the footage, the VAR saw that Segurawas in an offside position when the ball was headed to him in the Attacking Possession Phase (APP) just prior to the goal being scored.
  • 0:35 – Using the Right 18 camera as the definitive angle, he recommended a review.

PRO’s Decision: Even though this was a close call, it was clear on the footage that he was in an offside position. The referee correctly disallowed the goal.

This was a very good, efficient use of Video Review


ORL vs CHI: Review for offside in APP leading to a goal – given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Offside – no goal.

What Happened: In the opening few minutes of the game, a goal was scored by Tesho Akindele (ORL) but disallowed due to an offside offense committed by teammate Benji Michel (ORL) in the APP prior to the goal.

The Video Review Process:

  • 0:05 – The VAR set the kick point using the Tight camera.
  • 0:15 – Using South High Endzone, he believed that Michel was onside but wanted to check another angle.
  • 0:20 – The Right 18 camera is brought into the screen.
  • 0:30 – After first confirming that the on-field decision was offside, he recommended a review.

The referee could see that Bastian Schweinsteiger (CHI) had played Michel onside when the ball was played to him.

PRO’s Decision: Because the offside flag had been delayed until the end of the attack – which in this case was with the scoring of the goal – a window had been opened for the VAR to check whether disallowing of the goal was a clear and obvious error.

The referee correctly awarded the goal to Orlando City. This was a good use of Video Review.


POR vs SJ: Review for penalty kick (handling) – not given


Starting Point – On-field Decision: Play on.

What Happened: Portland Timbers appealed for a penalty kick when the ball made contact with the left arm of Nick Lima (SJ) in the San Jose Earthquakes penalty area. The ball traveled a short distance onto the arm, having made contact with the right thigh of Lima moments before making contact with his arm.

Lima’s arm had been extended away from his body a short time earlier, but at the moment the ball made contact with the arm, the arm was much closer to the body. The referee waved away the penalty appeals in real-time.

The Video Review Process:

The VAR saw movement of the arm down from its original position extended away from the body, after which it then made contact with the ball, and felt that this was sufficient to consider the action worthy of being penalized.

PRO’s Decision: The issue is whether the arm can be considered to be in a natural position at the moment that it made contact with the ball. It is clear that Lima moved his leg to the ball, which caused the ball to move to the arm, by which time the arm was in a much more natural position, and not particularly extended away from the body nor making the player unnaturally bigger.

The referee looked at the footage and felt the action was normal, especially as the ball had initially made contact with the thigh of Lima before striking the arm. He, therefore, retained his original no-penalty decision.

There is subjectivity in this case and the no-penalty decision is not a clear and obvious error. Therefore, the Video Review recommendation should not have been made.



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