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FeaturedThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 24

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

Week 24 overview
There were eight Video Reviews during Week 24.


RBNY vs COL: Review for red card (DOGSO) – given


What happened: Defender Lalas Abubakar (COL) misplayed a pass, which gave possession to Luquinhas (RBNY), who then ran towards the Colorado Rapids penalty area with Abubakar in pursuit. As Luquinhas approached the penalty area, Abubakar grabbed Luquinhas’ shoulders from behind in a desperate attempt to stop him. However, the holding continued until Luquinhas reached the penalty area line, at which point he went down.

This was a very clear offense that the referee penalized by awarding a penalty kick to New York Red Bulls. He also issued a red card to Abubakar for DOGSO. The VAR confirmed that the holding offense continued onto the penalty area line, and as such, he was able to “check complete” that aspect of the decision.

However, in relation to the red card for DOGSO, the VAR concluded that defender Danny Wilson (COL), who was moving towards Luquinhas from a few yards to the right, was close enough to potentially have the ability to challenge the New York Red Bulls player, reducing this from an obvious goalscoring opportunity to a promising attack.

He, therefore, recommended a Video Review. After looking at the footage for himself at the RRA, the referee agreed and rescinded the red card to Abubakar, replacing it with a yellow card for stopping a promising attack.

On-field decision: Penalty kick and red card (DOGSO).
Type of review: Yellow card (SPA).
Final decision after review: Yellow card.
Length of review: 4:00.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a difficult situation. When viewed at full speed, there does not appear to be an obvious goalscoring opportunity due to the location and movement of Wilson. PRO supports the Video Review and outcome in this situation.


RBNY vs COL: Review for goal (offside) – not given


What happened: A goal was scored by Dantouma Toure (COL) and awarded by the on-field match officials. The VAR checked the footage of the goal in order to establish whether there were any clear and obvious reasons why it shouldn’t stand. On doing so, he saw that Gyasi Zardes (COL) was in an offside position just outside the Colorado Rapids goal area at the moment Toure struck his shot. Furthermore, Zardes appeared to be directly between the ball and goalkeeper Carlos Coronel (RBNY); in the goalkeeper’s line of sight. Gyasi lifted his right foot and jumped a little as the ball passed close by to him on its way into the goal, seemingly afraid that he would block the shot.

Additionally, the keeper appeared to hesitate slightly when the shot was struck, only really committing to a dive to his right after the ball had passed Zardes. Taking all of the factors above into account, the VAR formed the opinion that Zardes had committed an offside offense by interfering with the keeper’s ability to play the ball due to him being in the line of sight of the shot and by his actions as the ball came towards him.

A Video Review was recommended, which resulted in the referee disallowing the goal and awarding an indirect freekick to New York Red Bulls for offside.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside interfering with an opponent.
Final decision after review: No goal.
Length of review: 1:40.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious on-field error. The expectation in circumstances like these is that the goal will be disallowed. Furthermore, much earlier in the APP leading to this goal, there was a clear foul by Toure on Dylan Nealis (RBNY) near the halfway line. The VAR would have recommended a Video Review for the goal to be disallowed, for this reason, had Zardes not committed an offside offense.


CIN vs PHI: Review for goal (handball in APP) – not given


What happened: A goal was scored by Brenner (CIN) and awarded by the on-field match officials. The VAR saw that the ball had entered the net directly from contact with the right arm of Brenner, as he fell forward after heading the ball in a challenge with the goalkeeper Andre Blake (PHI) when both had competed for a ball crossed into the Philadelphia Union penalty area.

Even though Brenner had not intentionally handled the ball, and regardless of the fact that his actions were completely natural, it is still an offense if the ball enters the goal directly from contact with an attacker’s hand or arm or if a goal is scored immediately by an attacker after making such contact.

The VAR correctly recommended a Video Review to have the goal disallowed, which is what happened after the referee had looked at the images for himself at the RRA.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – attacker handball.
Final decision after review: No goal.
Length of review: 2:30.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a very good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error, but one which was difficult to identify in real-time.


MTL vs MIA: Review for penalty kick (handball) – not given


What happened: The ball was crossed into the Inter Miami penalty area from the right side by Samuel Piette (MTL). Mason Toye (MTL) and Christopher McVey (MIA) challenged for the aerial ball, and Toye reached the ball and headed it goal bound. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed the game to continue.

The VAR checked the footage of the incident in order to establish whether the non-award of a penalty kick was a clear and obvious error and saw it was McVey’s raised left arm which had blocked Toye’s headed shot. McVey’s arm was raised to head height and was unnaturally positioned to make him bigger. As such, the VAR recommended a Video Review, and after seeing the footage for himself at the RRA, the referee agreed and awarded a penalty kick to CF Montréal.

On-field decision: Goal kick.
Type of review: Penalty kick – handball.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 1:14.

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


NSH vs TOR: Review for goal (offside) – given


What happened: Walker Zimmerman (NSH) scored a goal when he headed in a corner kick, but it was disallowed by the on-field match officials, who deemed that Zimmerman’s teammate Luke Haakenson (NSH) had committed an offside offense by interfering with the ability of the goalkeeper Alex Bono’s (TOR) to play the ball. Even though he never touched the ball, Haakenson was in the goal area, in close proximity to Bono, which is the reason why the on-field officials felt he had impacted the goalkeeper. However, when the VAR checked the footage of the goal, he could see that Haakenson was to the right of Bono, who had a clear view of Zimmerman’s header.

At no point did Haakenson block the view of the ball, nor did he make any action that could have interfered or impacted Bono’s ability to make a save. As such, this was a good goal, and the VAR correctly recommended a Video Review for the goal to be awarded. After watching the footage at the RRA, the referee agreed, and the goal was awarded.

On-field decision: Offside.
Type of review: Goal – no offside.
Final decision after review: Goal.
Length of review: 1:50.

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


SKC vs LA: Review for goal (ball out of play in APP) – not given


What happened: Goalkeeper Jonathan Bond (LA) saved the ball three times close to the goal line in quick succession from William Agada (SKC). The on-field match officials did not detect that the ball had fully crossed the line and therefore allowed play to continue. Using the Right 18 Yard camera, the VAR saw that the whole of the ball had crossed all the goal line.

The VAR deemed that the footage was conclusive, and he recommended a Video Review for a goal to be given. Having looked at the images for himself at the RRA, the referee agreed, and therefore the goal was awarded.

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

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error in a challenging situation for the on-field match officials. It is worth noting that during the check of this situation, the VAR identified that Roger Espinoza (SKC) was very close to being offside in the APP prior to the goal.

However, he deemed the footage not to be conclusive and could not determine that the non-raising of the offside flag was a clear and obvious error. As such, he “check completed” this aspect of the play, and PRO agrees with this judgment. Espinoza was probably level with the second rearmost defender, so the assistant referee’s non-raising of the flag was a very good decision.


SKC vs LA: Review for goal (offside) – given


What happened: A goal was scored by Chicharito (LA) but disallowed by the on-field match officials for offside. Because the offside flag and whistle had been delayed until the ball had entered the goal, a window of opportunity had been created for the VAR to check whether the disallowing of the goal involved a clear and obvious error. On checking the footage, the VAR saw that Dejan Joveljic (LA) was in an offside position at the moment the ball was played forward into the Sporting Kansas City penalty area, but he played no part in the goal. The goalscorer Chicharito was in an onside position when the ball was played forward; therefore, this was a good goal.

The VAR recommended a Video Review, and the goal was awarded after the referee had visited the RRA.

On-field decision: Offside.
Type of review: Goal – no offside.
Final decision after review: Goal.
Length of review: 2:10.

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


POR vs DAL: Review for penalty kick (handball) – not given


What happened: In time allowed for stoppages at the end of the game, Matt Hedges (DAL) blocked a shot by Marvin Loría (POR) in the FC Dallas penalty area. The referee did not detect an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue. The VAR saw that Hedges’ right arm had blocked the shot. The arm was extended away from his body at the time, making himself unnaturally bigger. As such, the VAR recommended a Video Review for a penalty kick to be awarded to Portland Timbers and after viewing the footage for himself at the RRA, the referee concurred and duly awarded the penalty.

On-field decision: Corner kick.
Type of review: Penalty kick – handball.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 1:45.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error in an area of the field where it can be challenging for the on-field match officials to correctly identify handball offenses. Hedges may consider himself unlucky as his right arm swung out as he turned his body to the right to try to block the shot, but a penalty kick is the expected decision when the ball makes contact with an arm which is extended away from the body in the way Hedges’ was.



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