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FeaturedThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 2

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

Week 2 overview
There were eight Video Reviews during Week 2.


TOR vs RBNY: Review for red card (serious foul play) – not given


What Happened: As the game approached the hour mark, with the score at 4-1 to New York Red Bulls, Carlos Salcedo (TOR) challenged Patryk Klimala (RBNY) near to the corner in the Toronto FC half, close to the assistant referee.

The referee deemed the challenge to be reckless and issued a yellow card to Salcedo. The VAR saw that Salcedo had gone to ground in the challenge, extending a straight right leg towards Klimala. Salcedo made slight contact on the ball with his right foot but then went over the ball and the studs on his right boot went into Klimala’s left shin.

The VAR deemed that the challenge was made with excessive force and endangered Klimala’s safety and recommended a Video Review. After looking at the footage at the RRA, the referee decided to maintain his original 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: 3:35.

PRO’s Opinion: PRO would prefer to see this type of challenge punished with a red card for serious foul play.


NE vs DAL: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – not given


What Happened: Paxton Pomykal (DAL) made a challenge on Carles Gill (NE) inside the penalty area. Pomykal had stretched at the top of the penalty area to poke the ball away from Gill, who had just beaten him to take control of a loose ball.

In real-time, the referee believed the touch on the ball was by Pomykal and not Gill. The VAR saw that Gill had got to the ball first, and Pomykal had failed to make any contact on the ball. His left foot instead caught the right foot of Gill and brought him down.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick (foul challenge).
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 1:08.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to make sure the penalty kick was correctly awarded to New England Revolution.


SJ vs CLB: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – not given


What Happened: In the process of playing a one-two with teammate Javier López (SJ), Paul Marie (SJ) was caught by Milos Degenek (CLB) inside the penalty area, as he looked to continue his run having rolled a return pass forward into the path of López.

The VAR saw that Degenek had made no contact on the ball and that his right foot fouled Marie, so he recommended a Video Review for a penalty kick.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick (foul challenge).
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 2:46.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a clear foul, and a penalty kick should have been awarded. This was an efficient use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious on-field error.


SJ vs CLB: Review for red card (serious foul play) – not given


What Happened: Darlington Nagbe (CLB) and Jamiro Monteiro (SJ) contested a bouncing ball just inside the center circle in the Columbus Crew half. Monteiro caught Nagbe after the defender had beaten him to clear the ball. The referee believed the contact to be foot-on-foot and deemed the challenge reckless; he issued a yellow card to Monteiro.

The VAR saw that Monteiro came into the challenge high and with a straight leg, and his studs made contact with Nagbe’s knee. He recommended a Video Review for a red card because he deemed the challenge to involve excessive force that endangered Nagbe’s safety. The referee reviewed the incident at the RRA and agreed with the VAR, changing the yellow card to red.

On-field decision: Yellow card (reckless challenge).
Type of review: Red card (serious foul play).
Final decision after review: Red card.
Length of review: 2:22.

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


CHI vs ORL: Review for goal (handball in APP) – not given


What Happened: A goal was scored by Júnior Urso (ORL) and awarded by the on-field match officials. The Chicago Fire players appealed to the referee that there had been a handball offense by Ercan Kara (ORL) during the attacking possession phase.

In real-time, the VAR saw that the ball had dropped to Kara within the Chicago Fire penalty area and that he had potentially brought it down using his arms, which were positioned in front of his chest. The ball then went to a teammate before finding its way back to Urso; whose deflected shot went into the goal. Kara’s actions were certainly part of the APP and if a handball offense had been committed, a Video Review would be justified to disallow the goal.

The VAR formed the conclusion that the ball had made contact with Kara’s right bicep and recommended a Video Review. The referee looked at the footage at the RRA and concurred with the VAR and disallowed the goal.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – handball.
Final decision after review: No goal – direct freekick.
Length of review: 3:40.

PRO’s Opinion: There is reason to believe that this is the right outcome based on the trajectory of the ball. However, the footage is not conclusive, and there is not a definitive angle that clearly shows the part of Kara’s body the ball made contact with. PRO does not feel there was enough evidence for the VAR to intervene and would have preferred for the on-field decision to stand.


CIN vs DC: Review for penalty kick (handball) – not given


What Happened: A D.C. United freekick was headed back across the penalty area and blocked by Geoff Cameron (CIN) with a suspicion of handball. The ball was eventually cleared upfield, and with it in a neutral zone, the referee stopped play.

In real-time the referee believed the ball may have struck Cameron’s arm but couldn’t be sure from the angle he had whether it came off his body first and allowed play to continue.

The VAR saw the shot was blocked by the raised left arm of Cameron, which was unnaturally positioned at shoulder height, making himself bigger, and recommended a Video Review.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick (handball).
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 1:49.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a clear handball offense that should have resulted in the award of a penalty kick. This was a good efficient use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error.


CIN vs DC: Review for red card (serious foul play) – not given


What Happened: Late in the game, with the score at 0-0, Luciano Acosta (CIN) won a freekick in D.C. United’s half after being fouled by Moses Nyeman (DC). Nyeman was booked for the challenge, and when the VAR saw that the cleats of Nyeman’s shoe had made contact with Acosta’s shin, he formed the view that the contact was consistent with serious foul play and felt the non-issuing of a red card was a clear and obvious error.

He recommended a Video Review, and after the referee looked at the footage at the RRA, he issued a red card to Nyeman.

On-field decision: Yellow card (reckless challenge).
Type of review: Red card (serious foul play).
Final decision after review: Red card.
Length of review: 2:37.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a correct intervention to rectify a clear and obvious error.


MTL vs PHI: Review for goal (foul in APP) – not given


What Happened: A goal was scored by Djordje Mihailovic (MTL) and awarded by the on-field officials. The VAR saw that Mihailovic blocked Julián Carranza (PHI) to gain possession inside the center circle before embarking on a run that led to him scoring.

Therefore, the VAR recommended a Video Review. After looking at the footage at the RRA, the referee concurred with the VAR. He disallowed the goal and awarded a direct freekick to Philadelphia Union.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal (foul in APP).
Final decision after review: No goal – direct freekick.
Length of review: 1:11.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a very effective and efficient use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious on-field error.



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