Sunday, September 24, 2023
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The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 20

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

Week 20 overview
There were two Video Reviews during Week 20.

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

What Happened: Taxiarchis Fountas (DC) went down under a challenge goalkeeper Eloy Room (CLB) within the Columbus Crew penalty area. The on-field referee crew deemed there to be no contact between the players in real-time and penalized Fountas for simulation, issuing him a yellow card.

The VAR checked the footage of the incident to establish whether the non-award of a penalty kick was a clear and obvious error. On doing so, he saw that only Fountas had played the ball and that Room’s left knee had made contact into the left leg of Fountas, thereby bringing Fountas down.

The VAR recommended a Video Review, and after looking at the footage for himself at the RRA, the referee agreed with the VAR. He rescinded the yellow card issued to Fountas for simulation and awarded a penalty kick to D.C. United.

On-field decision: Indirect freekick and yellow card.
Type of review: Penalty kick (foul challenge).
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 2:11.

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

DC vs CLB: Review for goal (foul in APP) – not given

What Happened: A goal was scored by Ola Kamara (DC) and awarded by the on-field match officials. On checking footage of the goal, the VAR formed the opinion that Brendan Hines-Ike (DC) had fouled defender Jalil Anibaba (CLB) in the APP as the two were jostling for the ball, which was coming in from a corner kick before the ball eventually found its way to Kamara to score.

The VAR recommended a Video Review, but when the referee looked at the footage for himself at the RRA, he disagreed with the VAR, observing that both Hines-Ike and Anibaba had been holding each other prior to and as the ball came into the penalty area. Most importantly, the referee noted that the holding had been initiated by Anibaba, who was clearly trying to prevent the forward movement of Hines-Ike. Anibaba wasn’t looking at the ball and had his back to the ball as it was being crossed into the penalty area.

The referee noted that as the ball dropped to the players, they were still holding each other, during which time Hines-Ike tried to kick the ball but was unable to do so properly due to the physical contact between the players which had been initiated by Anibaba. For this reason, he retained his decision to award a goal.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal (foul in APP).
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 2:01.

PRO’s Opinion: This situation fell short of being clear and obvious due to the unusual sequence of events which occurred in the APP. As such, PRO would prefer no Video Review to have been recommended.

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