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The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 23

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

Week 23 overview
There were two Video Reviews during Week 23.

HOU vs POR: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – not given

What Happened: Felipe Mora (Portland Timbers) went to ground in the Houston Dynamo penalty area under a challenge from goalkeeper Michael Nelson (HOU). The referee deemed in real-time that the goalkeeper had made contact on the ball and, as such, that no offense had occurred.

The VAR could see that Mora had used his left foot to touch the ball past the oncoming Nelson, before being brought down by the goalkeeper, who had failed to make any contact on the ball but had made contact with his hands on the left foot of Mora.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty kick.
Length of review: 1:23.

PRO’s Opinion: The goalkeeper did not get a touch on the ball, making this a clear foul. This was a good, effective use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error.

LAFC vs SKC: Review for red card (serious foul play) – given

What Happened: A direct freekick was awarded to Los Angeles FC in an attacking position when Roger Espinoza (SKC) was penalized for a foul challenge on Cristian Arango (LAFC). No accompanying disciplinary sanction was issued.

The VAR saw that Espinoza had stopped Arango by grabbing his jersey near to the neckline, while at the same time making very heavy contact from the cleats on his right foot onto the inside of Arango’s leg, on or just above the ankle, causing the leg to buckle in a very dangerous way.

On-field decision: Direct freekick (no card).
Type of review: Red card (serious foul play).
Final decision after review: Red card.
Length of review: 2:36.

PRO’s Opinion: The action had excessive force and the nature of the contact endangered the safety of Arango.

This was clearly foul play; Espinoza was nowhere near the ball and his actions presented a significant risk to the safety of his opponent. This was a correct and efficient use of the Video Review system to issue the appropriate disciplinary sanction.

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