Thursday, September 28, 2023
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The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 4

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

Week 4 overview
There were two Video Reviews during Week 4.


CIN vs MIA: Review for mistaken identity (yellow card)


What Happened: A yellow card was issued by the referee for a reckless foul challenge by Júnior Moreno (CIN) on Jean Mota (MIA) near to the touchline in midfield. Ronald Matarrita (CIN) was in close proximity to the incident for which Moreno was penalized.

The VAR saw that the reckless contact on Mota had actually been made by Matarrita and not by Moreno, so he recommended a Video Review for mistaken identity. This afforded the referee an opportunity to view the footage and confirm that the action which he deemed reckless, for which the caution was issued, was committed by Matarrita and not by Moreno. This was confirmed, and the caution was correctly transferred from Moreno to Matarrita before the game recommenced.

On-field decision: Yellow card – reckless challenge.
Type of review: Mistaken identity.
Final decision after review: Yellow card changed to Ronald Matarrita.
Length of review: 1:41.

PRO’s Opinion: Cases of mistaken identity are unusual, but this was a good use of the Video Review system to rectify this situation.


NYC vs PHI: Review for penalty kick (handball in APP) – not given


What Happened: A long ball over the top was controlled by Santiago Rodríguez (NYC) before he knocked the ball past goalkeeper Andre Blake (PHI) in the Philadelphia Union penalty area. However, having done so, he was prevented from hitting the ball towards the open goal by defender Jack Elliott (PHI), who used his left hand to push Rodríguez in the back and knocked him to the ground. The action of Elliott was correctly recognized by the referee as being foul contact in the penalty area, which was not part of an attempt to play/challenge for the ball but which denied Rodriguez an obvious goalscoring opportunity. He, therefore, awarded a penalty kick to New York City and issued a red card to Elliott for DOGSO.

The VAR checked the footage to establish whether there were any infringements by the attacking team in the APP, which would negate the award of the penalty kick and the issuing of the DOGSO red card. He saw that Rodríguez had used his left arm to control the ball as it dropped before knocking it past the goalkeeper.

While this was challenging for the on-field officials to see in real-time, it was very clear on the video footage. As such, a Video Review was recommended, resulting in the penalty kick decision being rescinded and the red card withdrawn. The game re-started through a direct free kick to Philadelphia Union for handball.

On-field decision: Penalty kick and red card for DOGSO.
Type of review: Handball in APP.
Final decision after review: Direct freekick to Philadelphia Union.
Length of review: 2:57.

PRO’s Opinion: This was an excellent use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error (albeit a difficult decision in real-time) in a critical match situation.

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