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The Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Weeks 9 and 10

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

Week 9 and 10 overview
There were five Video Reviews during Week 9 and one in Week 10.


ORL vs SJ: Review for penalty kick (handball) – not given


What happened: Midway through the second half, with the score at 4-0 to Orlando City, a ball was crossed into the Orlando penalty area by Shea Salinas (SJ). Defender Antônio Carlos (ORL) raised his right leg to try to block the cross, and as he did so, his right arm moved in and backward behind him. The ball missed his leg but struck his arm. The referee allowed play to continue having not identified a handball offense.

The VAR judged that the arm was unnaturally positioned in a way which made Carlos’ body bigger and recommended a Video Review.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick – handball.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 2:30.

PRO’s Opinion: While the ball does strike the arm, it is behind the defender, who had moved his arm towards him as he raised his leg to try to block the ball. Although subjective, this is not an unnatural position for the arm to be in, based on the actions of the defender. The referee was correct in retaining his initial no-penalty kick decision.


CHI vs CIN: Review for goal (offside in the APP) – not given


What happened: A goal was scored by Chicago Fire and awarded by the on-field officials. The VAR checked the video footage and identified that the goalscorer Robert Berić (CHI) had been in an offside position when the ball was played to him immediately prior to him scoring. As such, a Video Review was recommended. The referee looked at the footage at the RRA and concurred with the VAR’s opinion that Berić had committed an offside offense. Therefore, the goal was disallowed.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside.
Final decision after review: No goal – offside.
Length of review: 2:15.

PRO’s Opinion: This situation was very close. The on-field decision was onside, with the assistant referee quite rightly giving the benefit of any doubt to the attacking team. The images do not provide clear evidence that the on-field decision was clearly and obviously incorrect. There is a likelihood that Berić was being played onside by the left foot of defender Joseph-Claude Gyau (CIN).


NYC vs ATL: Review for red card (serious foul play) – not given


What happened: The referee penalized Erik López (ATL) for a foul challenge in midfield on Andres Jasson (NYC). Lopez took a heavy touch with his right foot and then stretched with his left leg to make a retrieval challenge as Jasson moved in. Lopez made contact with the ball but on the follow through the studs of his left foot made heavy, forceful contact on the lower part of Jasson’s left leg but well above the ankle, causing the ankle to twist. The left foot of López then moved off Jasson’s leg.

The referee awarded a direct freekick to New York City and cautioned López for a reckless foul challenge. After review, the referee decided that the challenge did not reach the level of SFP, as he felt the contact was glancing, thereby reducing the impact and danger to the opponent. He, therefore, retained his initial yellow card decision.

On-field decision: Yellow card (reckless challenge).
Type of review: Red card (serious foul play).
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 2:52.

PRO’s Opinion: While the foot of López does move off the leg of Jasson fairly quickly, there is excessive force on the initial contact, which is not glancing. The review was correct and the final decision should have been a red card for Lopez.


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


What happened: A challenge in midfield by Matthew Real (PHI) on Lucas Zelarayán (CLB) was penalized by the referee with a red card for serious foul play. From his viewing position, the referee judged the foul to have excessive force with Real going over the ball into his opponent, thereby endangering the safety of the opponent.
The VAR could see that the contact was made from Real’s shins going into Lucas Zelarayán.

On-field decision: Red card (serious foul play).
Type of review: Yellow card (reckless).
Final decision after review: Yellow card (reckless).
Length of review: 1:42.

PRO’s Opinion: This was the correct outcome because no elements of serious foul play were present in this challenge. However, it was reckless due to the speed and intensity of Real’s challenge. His legs were bent and the contact was low. An excellent and efficient use of Video Review to rectify a clear and obvious error.


LAFC vs DAL: Review for goal (offside in the APP) – given


What happened: A goal was scored by Latif Blessing (LAFC) but disallowed for an offside offense involving Carlos Vela (LAFC) in the APP prior to the goal. The offside flag had initially been delayed but then raised before the ball entered the goal. However, the referee had continued to delay the whistle and only blew after the ball went into goal.

On-field decision No goal – offside.
Type of review: Goal.
Final decision after review: Goal.
Length of review: 1:50.

PRO’s Opinion: The footage provides enough evidence to conclude that the on-field decision was clearly and obviously incorrect, because the grass line is at the player’s feet. In close offside situations, we would always prefer that the assistant referee keeps the flag down.


RSL vs HOU: Review for penalty kick (holding) – not given


What happened: A cross into the Houston Dynamo penalty area was met by the head of Damir Kreilach (RSL), who was challenged by defender Tim Parker (HOU). There was contact between the two players and after Kreilach had headed the ball, they both went to ground. The referee allowed play to continue.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 3:00.

PRO’s Opinion: If the referee had awarded a penalty kick as the on-field decision, it would have been supported because Parker does have hold of Kreilach’s arm, but there is some subjectivity as to how impactful that contact is as both players are moving towards each other, jostling for position. The non-award of a penalty kick was not a clear and obvious error, and as such a Video Review should not have been recommended.



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