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The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 12

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

Week 12 overview
There were four Video Reviews during Week 12.


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


What Happened: New York City FC appealed for a handball penalty kick when Brendan Hines-Ike (DC) intercepted a corner kick in the D.C. United penalty area. The game was allowed to continue as the referee did not detect an offense in real-time.

However, on checking the footage, the VAR could see that the ball had made contact with the outstretched left arm of Hines-Ike. The arm was positioned in a manner which made him unnaturally bigger and was not justifiable. As such, a Video Review was recommended, and after looking at the footage at the RRA, the referee concurred with the VAR and awarded a penalty kick to New York City FC.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick – handball.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 1:48.

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


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


What Happened: A header by Chicharito (LA) towards goal was blocked by defender Michael Boxall (MIN) within his own penalty area. LA Galaxy felt that Boxall had used his arm to do so, but the referee did not identify an offense and allowed play to continue.

The VAR saw that the left arm of Boxall had blocked the header and was extended away from the body at that time, making himself unnaturally bigger in an unjustifiable way.

The VAR recommended a Video Review for a possible penalty kick to be awarded to LA Galaxy, and having viewed the footage at the RRA screen, the referee duly obliged.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick – handball.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 2:00.

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


SKC vs COL: Review for red card (violent conduct) – not given


What Happened: A freekick was awarded to Colorado Rapids for a foul committed by Johnny Russell (SKC) on Nicolás Mezquida (COL). As Mezquida took the freekick, he was kicked by Dániel Sallói (SKC), which sparked a mass confrontation.

The referee initially didn’t appreciate the full extent of the violent nature of Salloi’s actions. As he moved in to issue him a yellow card, Salloi was violently pushed to the ground by Lucas Esteves (COL). The referee immediately issued a red card to Esteves as other players moved into the ensuing confrontation.

Among them were Andreu Fontàs (SKC) and Diego Rubio (COL). As they squared up to one another, Fontàs placed his hands around the neck of Rubio and violently pushed him to the ground. The referee issued a red card to Fontàs.

After calm had been restored, and the VAR was able to check footage of the entire sequence, he recommended a Video Review for the yellow card issued to Salloi to be changed to a red card, which the referee correctly did after viewing the images for himself at the RRA.

On-field decision: Yellow card.
Type of review: Red card (violent conduct).
Final decision after review: Red card.
Length of review: 3:25.

PRO’s Opinion: This was an ugly confrontation involving very clear acts of violent conduct, all of which were correctly punished through the issuing of red cards.


LAFC vs ATX: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – not given


What Happened: Diego Palacios (LAFC) went down under a challenge from Kipp Keller (ATX). The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed the game to continue. The VAR formed the opinion that such an error had occurred because he saw the right foot of Keller come through and make contact on the back of the left foot of Palacios without making contact on the ball.

The VAR recommended a Video Review, and the referee looked at the footage at the RRA. On doing so, he formed the opinion that both players had stepped into the same spot on the field at the same time, and as such, there was no offense by Keller. He, therefore, retained his initial no-penalty kick decision.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 2:00.

PRO’s Opinion: It is understandable why, in real-time, the referee felt both players stepped into the same space at the same time. The placing of the feet did happen almost simultaneously, but a close examination of the footage shows Keller arrived very slightly late.

The images support the VAR’s view that Keller brought his foot through to make contact with the left foot of Palacios as he tried to turn onto a ball which he had dragged back using the same foot moments earlier. This situation falls at the lower end of the clear and obvious scale, and the referee didn’t feel the images were clear enough to overturn his initial call. PRO would have preferred for a penalty to be awarded in this situation.



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