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FeaturedThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 9

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

Week 9 overview
There were five Video Reviews during Week 9.


RSL vs LA: Review for goal (offside in APP) – not given


What Happened: In time allowed for stoppages at the end of the game, a goal was scored by Dejan Joveljić (LA) and awarded by the on-field match officials to make the score 1-1.

However, as the LA Galaxy players celebrated, the on-field match officials discussed the possibility that Derrick Williams (LA) had committed an offside offense because as the ball was initially crossed into the Real Salt Lake penalty area, Williams was in an offside position and moved towards the dropping ball, making physical contact with defender Justen Glad (RSL) as Glad was about to jump to try to head the ball. The ball just went over Glad’s head and reached Joveljić, who controlled it on his chest before turning to shoot and score.

The assistant referee suspected that Williams had interfered with Glad, whereas the referee was less certain. Due to their doubt, they decided to award the goal. However, when the VAR checked the footage, he could see that Williams had made contact on Glad and, as such, is considered to be challenging Glad for the ball. Williams is also making an obvious action which clearly impacts the ability of an opponent to play the ball, as he made contact on Glad just before Glad tried to jump to head the ball.

The VAR recommended a Video Review for the goal to be disallowed for an offense of offside – interfering with an opponent. After looking at the footage at the RRA, the referee concurred with the VAR and disallowed the goal, instead awarding an indirect freekick to Real Salt Lake for offside.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside.
Final decision after review: No goal – indirect freekick.
Length of review: 3:20.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review process to rectify a clear on-field error in a match critical situation.


CHI vs RBNY: Review for goal (offside in APP) – not given


What Happened: A New York Red Bulls freekick was floated into the Chicago Fire penalty area, traveling through to Thomas Edwards (RBNY) to score with a first-time touch. The VAR saw that Aaron Long (RBNY) had been in an offside position at the moment the freekick was taken and had blocked the movement of Chinonso Offor (CHI), who was unable to track back and challenge for the ball as a result of Long’s actions.

The VAR, therefore, recommended a Video Review. After looking at the footage for himself at the RRA, the referee concurred with the VAR and disallowed the goal for an offense of offside – interfering with an opponent. The game was re-started with an indirect freekick to Chicago Fire.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside.
Final decision after review: No goal – indirect freekick.
Length of review: 2:15.

PRO’s Opinion: This was the correct outcome. While the offside position was close, the camera was perfectly positioned to show that Long was in an offside position. There is no doubt that he prevented the forward movement of Offor, and while the amount of contact fell short of a holding offense as per Law 12, it was sufficient for an offside offense to be complete, especially as Offor would otherwise have been moving into the area where the ball was dropping but was prevented from doing so by Long. This was a good use of the Video Review system.


CHI vs RBNY: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – not given


What Happened: New York Red Bulls appealed for a penalty kick when attacker Patryk Klimala (RBNY) went down in the Chicago Fire penalty area under contact with defender Miguel Navarro (CHI). The VAR checked the footage and he saw that after Klimala had touched the ball forward, Navarro had extended out his right leg towards it but failed to touch it.

The extended leg was then a barrier across the path of Klimala, over which Klimala went as he continued to move towards the ball. The VAR felt this was a clear penalty kick offense by Navarro and he recommended a Video Review.

After watching the footage for himself at the RRA, the referee agreed and awarded a penalty kick to New York Red Bulls.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 4:00.

PRO’s Opinion: Navarro failed to touch the ball and ultimately placed his leg out in a manner which created a barrier for Klimala as he tried to move to the ball, resulting in a tripping foul and penalty.


COL vs POR: Review for goal (offside in APP) – not given


What Happened: A headed goal was scored by Lalas Abubakar (COL), which was awarded by the on-field match officials.

On checking footage of the goal, the VAR saw that Jonathan Lewis (COL) was in an offside position when Abubakar had headed the ball towards goal, and he was in very close proximity to the goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic (POR). Just before the header came in from Abubakar, Lewis had been jostling with Ivacic, and they were still in contact when Abubakar headed the ball towards goal.

The VAR formed the opinion that Lewis has impacted the ability of the goalkeeper to play the ball while in an offside position and, as such, recommended a Video Review. After looking at the footage for himself at the RRA, the referee concurred with the VAR and disallowed the goal. The game re-started with an indirect freekick to Portland Timbers for offside.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside.
Final decision after review: No goal – indirect freekick.
Length of review: 3:00.

PRO’s Opinion: This was an appropriate use of the Video Review system. It is normal for a player in an offside position within the goal area, in contact with the goalkeeper, to be penalized, and as such, the Video Review was correct, as was the final outcome.


NSH vs PHI: Review for penalty kick (handball) – not given


What Happened: In the closing stages of the game, with the score at 1-1, the ball made contact with the right arm of Cory Burke (PHI) as it was crossed into the Philadelphia Union penalty area from a corner. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time, and the game was allowed to continue. The VAR formed the opinion that Burke had moved his right arm out into the path of the dropping ball, and therefore he had committed a handball offense.

As such, he recommended a Video Review for a possible penalty to be awarded to Nashville. The referee looked at the footage at the RRA but did not agree with the VAR. He deemed the movement and position of Burke’s arm to be natural and therefore retained his original no-penalty kick decision. The game had been stopped in a neutral zone of the field of play for the Video Review to take place, and therefore it was re-started with a drop ball.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 2:07.

PRO’s Opinion: Burke jumped for the dropping ball in order to try to head it, and as he did so, both arms moved up naturally. The ball cleared an opponent just ahead of Burke and dropped onto his right arm, which was still naturally positioned and justifiable for the playing action he was engaged in, i.e., moving and jumping to head the ball. It was relatively close to the body at that time.

After the ball had hit the arm, the arm did move out, which gave the perception of a movement to the ball to knock it away. However, the movement came after the contact. This Video Review should not have been recommended, and the referee was correct to retain his original no-penalty kick decision.



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