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The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 32

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

Week 32 overview
There were seven Video Reviews during Week 32.


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


What Happened: A goal was scored by Elias Manoel (RBNY) and awarded by the on-field officials. The VAR checked footage of the goal as normal and identified that two offside offenses had been committed in the APP prior to the goal. The first when the ball was initially crossed into the New York City penalty area with Aaron Long (RBNY) in an offside position before heading the ball goal bound, and the second at the moment Long headed the ball, at which time Manoel was in an offside position and gained an advantage when the ball rebounded back to him from the goal post off Long’s header, before he scored.

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

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


CHI vs CLT: Review for goal (foul in APP) – not given


What Happened: A goal was scored by Karol Swiderski (CLT) and awarded by the on-field officials. However, when the VAR checked the goal, he saw that Brandt Bronico (CLT) had kicked into defender Kendall Burks (CHI) after Burks had cleared the ball. Bronico made no contact on the ball, and the contact between him and Burks had left Burks on the floor, unable to defend the remainder of the attack.

The VAR formed the opinion that a clear and obvious error had been committed in the non-awarding of a freekick to Chicago Fire and that the goal should not have been allowed to stand. He recommended a Video Review, and having seen the footage for herself at the RRA screen, the referee agreed and disallowed the goal.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – foul challenge.
Final decision after review: No goal.
Length of review: 2:45.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a credible use of the Video Review system, although the situation sits at the lower end of the clear and obvious threshold. There is not a big deviation of Bronico’s foot into Burks but there is no doubt that Bronico arrived late, and he failed to play the ball. The subsequent contact resulted in Burks being unable to defend further.


RSL vs CIN: Review for penalty kick (in or out) – given


What Happened: The referee awarded a penalty kick to FC Cincinnati for what he perceived in real-time to be a holding foul committed by Marcelo Silva (RSL) on Brandon Vazquez (CIN), just as Vazquez was bringing a long aerial ball down on his chest and was moving into the penalty area.

The referee believed that Silva had put his arm across Vazquez to unbalance him and prevent him from reaching the ball he had just chested. However, when the VAR checked footage of the incident, he saw that any contact between Silva and Vazquez occurred outside the penalty area. It was extremely slight and insufficient to impact Vazquez.

As such, the VAR recommended a Video Review. After looking at the footage for himself at the RRA screen, the referee agreed, rescinded the yellow card he had issued to Silva for SPA, and re-started the game with a drop ball to the goalkeeper Zac MacMath (RSL).

On-field decision: Penalty kick and yellow card – SPA.
Type of review: No penalty – foul outside penalty area.
Final decision after review: No foul – yellow card rescinded.
Length of review: 3:45.

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


RSL vs CIN: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – not given


What Happened: Alvas Powell (CIN) went down in the Real Salt Lake penalty area after cutting the ball back past defender Marcelo Silva (RSL). The on-field match officials did not detect an offense in real-time and allowed the game to continue.

However, when the VAR checked footage of the incident, he formed the opinion that Silva had fouled Powell by kicking Powell’s left foot as he turned back inside. The VAR felt the non-award of a penalty kick was a clear and obvious error and recommended a Video Review for a penalty kick to be awarded to FC Cincinnati.

However, when the referee looked at the footage for himself at the RRA, he did not feel such an error had been made and kept his original no-penalty kick decision.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 2:41.

PRO’s Opinion: Due to the subjectivity of this situation, on balance PRO would prefer not to see a Video Review recommended once the referee had allowed play to continue.


SJ vs DAL: Review for red card (violent conduct) – not given


What Happened: An off-the-ball altercation occurred involving Paul Arriola (DAL) and Jamiro Monteiro (SJ), after which Montero went down holding his face. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

However, when the VAR checked the footage, he saw that Arriola, in response to being bumped from behind and knocked off balance, had swung his right arm backward with excessive force. He made contact with the head of Montero in an action which the VAR felt involved brutality and was therefore worthy of a red card for violent conduct. He, therefore, recommended a Video Review, and after seeing the footage for himself at the RRA screen, the referee concurred and issued a red card to Arriola.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Red card – violent conduct.
Final decision after review: Red card.
Length of review: 3:16.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a very good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error and to correctly punish a player for using violent conduct against an opponent.


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


What Happened: The VAR checked for a possible penalty kick to Los Angeles FC when Denis Bouanga (LAFC) was caught late by Teenage Hadebe (HOU) in the Houston Dynamo penalty area after crossing the ball from near to the goal line.

The referee had not identified an offense in real-time, but the VAR saw that Hadebe had committed a very clear late reckless challenge on Bouanga. He failed to play the ball but made heavy contact on the LAFC player after jumping into the challenge.

The VAR recommended a Video Review for the penalty kick, but consideration was also given as to whether Bouanga had committed a foul on Matías Vera (HOU) in the other half of the field of play at the very start of the APP which led to the penalty situation.

When the referee checked footage of the sequence, he looked at the penalty incident involving Hadebe and the possible foul on Vera at the start of the APP. On doing so, he formed the opinion that Vera had been fouled by Bouanga thus negating the penalty kick offense committed by Hadebe.

The referee re-started play with a direct freekick to Houston Dynamo, where Bouanga had committed the foul on Vera.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Foul in APP – direct freekick.
Length of review: 2:50.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to reach a correct outcome. The penalty kick situation was clear, and without the earlier foul, it would have been awarded after review.

However, the foul on Vera at the start of the APP was also clear, and as such, it was correct to put this play into review so the referee could see the full sequence. By going into review, it also made it clear to everybody why the clear penalty could not have been awarded after all. Hadebe should still have been issued a caution for his reckless foul in the penalty area.


LAFC vs HOU: Review for penalty kick (handball) – not given


What Happened: Ilie Sánchez (LAFC) flicked on a corner kick with his head, and the ball was blocked by Fafà Picault (HOU) in the Houston Dynamo penalty area.

The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue, but when the VAR checked footage of the situation, he saw that the ball had been blocked by the right arm of Picault which, after the header, he had moved away from his body into a position thereby making him unnaturally bigger.

The VAR recommended a Video Review, and after looking at the footage for himself at the RRA screen, the referee agreed and awarded a penalty kick to Los Angeles FC.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
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 error, albeit challenging for the on-field officials to see in real-time in a crowded penalty area.



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