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The 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 five Video Reviews during Week 29.


ATX vs RSL: Review for penalty kick (holding) – given


What Happened: A penalty kick was awarded by the referee for a foul challenge by Erik Holt (RSL) on Moussa Djitté (ATX), who had gone down under pressure from behind by Holt as he moved into and through the penalty area towards goal, along and just inside the goal line. The referee perceived there to be a touch from behind by Holt on the lower leg of Djitté, which is what he penalized. This was communicated by the referee to the VAR.

The VAR saw that no such touch had occurred, and there was no lower body contact between the players; therefore, he recommended a Video Review. On seeing the footage for himself at the RRA and confirming there was no lower body contact, the referee overturned his original penalty call and replaced it with a drop ball to the goalkeeper David Ochoa (RSL), as per the Laws of the Game.

On-field decision: Penalty kick.
Type of review: No penalty – drop ball.
Final decision after review: Drop ball.
Length of review: 2:05.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to overturn a clear and obvious on-field error. As a footnote, there was some contact between the players, as Holt placed a hand on Djitté’s arm before the Austin FC player went down. However, this was not what was penalized by the referee in the first instance, and this contact was not impactful enough to justify the award of a penalty kick because Holt released the touch without pulling Djitté.


DAL vs MIN: Review for goal (foul in APP) – not given


What Happened: With the score at 0-0, a goal was scored by Ryan Hollingshead (DAL) and awarded by the on-field match officials. The VAR saw that the ball had made contact with the underside of Hollingshead’s left elbow after being driven at him from short distance by Michael Boxall’s (MIN) attempted clearance.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – handball.
Final decision after review: Handball.
Length of review: 2:02.

PRO’s Opinion: Having hit his arm, the ball then dropped to his foot to score immediately. Regardless of any intent or any other factors used when considering other handball offenses, if the ball makes contact with an attacker’s hand or arm and a goal is scored directly or such contact immediately leads to a goal scoring opportunity, an offense has been committed. As such, the VAR correctly recommended a Video Review for the goal to be disallowed, which the referee duly did after looking at the footage for himself at the RRA.

This was a good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error in a crucial moment of the game.


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


What Happened: Late in the game, Emanuel Reynoso (MIN) and Szabolcs Schön (DAL) challenged for a loose ball near the corner of the field of play. The challenge left Schön on the floor and in pain, although the referee allowed play to continue having not identified an offense in real-time.

The VAR saw that the cleats of Reynoso’s right shoe had made contact on the outside of the ankle, just above the shoe, on Schön’s left leg, as Schön went to ground to slide into the challenge with his left leg extended to poke the ball away. Reynoso stayed on his feet and stepped into the challenge in an attempt to play the ball.

The VAR deemed the contact to be consistent with serious foul play and felt the non-issuing of a red card was a clear and obvious error. As such, he recommended a Video Review, and the referee looked at the footage at the RRA, after which he issued a red card to Reynoso.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Red card (serious foul play).
Final decision after review: Red card.
Length of review: 2:03.

PRO’s Opinion: This situation is subjective in nature, and a red card issued on the field in real-time would not be a clear and obvious error. Reynoso was making a genuine attempt for the ball, and the defender slid his foot under Reynoso’s to poke the ball away. There was no malice or brutality in Reynoso’s action, and nothing suggested Reynoso increased the force in any way. A yellow card would be a more appropriate outcome.


SKC vs HOU: Review for red card (DOGSO) – not given


What Happened: A penalty kick was awarded to Sporting Kansas City when Johnny Russell (SKC) was bundled into from behind and knocked to the ground by Samuel Junqua (HOU) within the Houston Dynamo penalty area. Junqua failed to make any attempt to play the ball, which was around two yards away when the contact on Russell happened. The referee did not issue any disciplinary sanction to Junqua at the time.

The VAR saw that Junqua made no attempt to play the ball and also formed the opinion that his actions had denied Russell an obvious goalscoring opportunity. He recommended a Video Review for a possible DOGSO red card.

The referee looked at the footage at the RRA and concurred with the VAR that Junqua had not made an attempt to play the ball and was therefore deserving of a card of some color. The referee also formed the opinion that there was cover being provided by HOU’s Tim Parker, due to several factors, including the fact that Russell had touched the ball laterally across the penalty area in the direction of Parker before slowing down slightly when the contact from Junqua happened. As such, the referee decided to issue a yellow card to Junqua for stopping a promising attack with no attempt to play the ball.

On-field decision: Penalty kick (no card).
Type of review: Red card (DOGSO).
Final decision after review: Yellow card (SPA).
Length of review: 3:11.

PRO’s Opinion: If you pause the footage at the exact moment of the contact, all criteria for DOGSO are possibly in place; however, in full speed, there wasn’t an expectation that a red card would be shown. Within a frame or two of the contact on Russell happening, Parker had moved across and cleared the ball.

The penalty kick was the correct decision as the contact from Junqua was clearly foul contact, and the final yellow card decision for SPA was a credible outcome.


SEA vs COL: Review for goal (foul in APP) – not given


What Happened: A goal was scored by Jimmy Medranda (SEA) and awarded by the referee. The VAR identified a foul in the APP committed by Fredy Montero (SEA) on Keegan Rosenberry (COL). Montero had extended his left leg towards Rosenberry, making contact on the Colorado Rapids’ player’s right foot and tripping him, thereby preventing Rosenberry from clearing the ball as it came across the penalty area before it found Medranda. Therefore, the VAR recommended a Video Review, and after looking at the footage at the RRA, the referee concurred with the VAR. He disallowed the goal and awarded a direct freekick to Colorado Rapids.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – foul in APP.
Final decision after review: Foul in APP.
Length of review: 1:25.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error.



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