Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 3

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

Week 3 overview
There were two Video Reviews during Week 3.

DAL vs NSH: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – given

What Happened: A penalty kick was awarded to FC Dallas for a foul from behind by Jack Maher (NSH) on Paul Arriola (DAL). The referee initially stated he had penalized a tripping offense. However, the VAR could not identify any lower body foul contact on checking the footage and recommended a Video Review.

On looking at the footage at the RRA, the referee still felt his original decision was correct because there was some upper body contact from Maher from behind on Arriola, and he retained his original penalty decision.

On-field decision: Penalty kick.
Type of review: No penalty kick.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 3:10.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a subjective call. The penalty decision was not clearly and obviously wrong, and a Video Review should not have been recommended.

RBNY vs MIN: Review for penalty kick (handball) – not given

What Happened: New York Red Bulls appealed for a penalty kick when the ball made contact with the left hand of Hassani Dotson (MIN) inside the Minnesota United penalty area, having been knocked forward by Omir Fernandez (RBNY).

The referee did not identify a handball offense in real-time and allowed the game to continue. In the opinion of the VAR, Dotson leaned towards the ball and moved his hand towards it, resulting in the contact. She deemed that this was not a normal, justifiable movement nor position for Dotson’s hand to be in and therefore recommended a Video Review.

The referee looked at the footage at the RRA, concurred with the VAR, and awarded a penalty kick.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 2:28.

PRO’s Opinion: This situation was very subjective. There was clearly a movement by Dotson which took his hand into the path of the ball; however, the subjective issue is whether such movement and hand position were normal and justifiable as part of Dotson’s turn towards the ball as it was knocked past him.

PRO would prefer no penalty in this case because the actions of Dotson were natural and justified. As such, the non-award of a penalty kick was not a clear and obvious error.

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