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The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 25

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

Week 25 overview
There were three Video Reviews during Week 25.

HOU vs MTL: Review for penalty kick (handball) – given

What Happened: The referee awarded a penalty kick to CF Montréal for handball when Jose Rodriguez (HOU) blocked a shot on goal by Alistair Johnston (MTL) inside the Houston Dynamo penalty area.

As always, the VAR checked the footage of the penalty kick in order to establish whether the awarding of it was a clear and obvious error. On doing so, he could see that Rodriguez had initially blocked the ball with his left knee. The ball then traveled under Rodriguez’s right leg before ricocheting up into his left arm, which was to his side and, in the opinion of the VAR, naturally positioned.

The VAR determined that no handball offense had been committed and recommended a Video Review for the penalty to be overturned. The referee looked at the footage for himself at the RRA but deemed that the left arm was not a supporting arm and was positioned away from the body enough to make his body bigger and served to create a barrier for the ball. He disagreed with the VAR and retained his original call.

On-field decision: Penalty kick.
Type of review: No penalty.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 4:30.

PRO’s Opinion: When a defender is trying to block the ball, just because the ball makes contact with another body part prior to making contact with the defender’s arm does not necessarily negate the possible award of a penalty kick. A judgment has to be made as to whether the position of the arm is unnaturally making the player bigger. This is often a subjective call. In this situation, PRO supports the award of a penalty kick. Due to the subjective nature of the position of the arm and whether it is natural or not, PRO would prefer that no review be recommended in this case.

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

What Happened: A cross by Samuel Grandsir (LA) was blocked by defender Ranko Veselinović (VAN) in the Vancouver Whitecaps penalty area. The referee awarded a corner to LA Galaxy, believing the ball had hit Ranko Veselinović’s chest.

The VAR saw that Veselinović had extended out his right arm into the path of the ball to block it. The arm movement indicated this was a deliberate handball offense, and the position it moved into also made Veselinović unnaturally bigger to create a barrier for the ball.

This was a clear handball offense, and the VAR recommended a Video Review. After seeing the footage for himself at the RRA, the referee concurred and awarded a penalty kick to LA Galaxy.

On-field decision: Corner kick.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 1:48.

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

SEA vs RSL: Review for goal (offside) – not given

What Happened: A goal was scored by Raúl Ruidíaz (SEA). The VAR identified an offside offense in the APP when Nicolás Lodeiro (SEA) touched the ball to teammate Cristian Roldan (SEA) in the APP prior to the ball reaching Ruidíaz to score.

Although Roldan was only offside by a small margin, the camera was perfectly placed to show that he was clearly and obviously offside. Roldan’s location on the line at the top of the penalty area made identification of the offense easier, even though the offense wasn’t obvious at full speed.

As such, a Video Review was recommended, and after looking at the footage for himself at the RRA, the referee disallowed the goal.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside.
Final decision after review: Offside.
Length of review: 1:48.

PRO’s Opinion: This was an excellent use of the Video Review system to identify and penalize an offside offense which wasn’t easy to identify in real-time, at an important moment in the match.

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