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FeaturedThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 33

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

Week 33 overview
There were five Video Reviews during Week 33.


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


What Happened: Ismaël Koné (MTL) entered the D.C. United penalty area in possession of the ball, bearing down on goal with Donovan Pines (DC) in close pursuit. The referee did not identify an offense by Pines in real-time and allowed play to continue; however, the VAR saw that Pines had used both hands to push Koné to the ground, preventing him from shooting and denying him an obvious goalscoring opportunity. As such, the VAR recommended a Video Review.

Having seen the footage for himself at the RRA screen, the referee agreed and awarded a penalty kick to CF Montréal, before issuing a red card to Pines for DOGSO.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty and red card (DOGSO).
Length of review: 1:50.

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


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


What Happened: Kwadwo Opoku (LAFC) went down in the Portland Timbers penalty area under pressure from Claudio Bravo (POR). Deeming that no offense had been committed, the referee awarded a corner kick to Los Angeles FC, as Bravo had poked the ball out of play as Opoku fell.

The VAR checked the footage and formed the opinion that Bravo had fouled Opoku by using both hands on the shoulders of the attacker from behind to impede him and that the contact had continued into the penalty area.

He recommended a Video Review for a penalty kick to be awarded. However, when the referee looked at the footage for himself, he formed the opinion that the contact had not been sufficiently impactful to penalize Bravo and retained his no penalty decision.

On-field decision: Corner kick.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 4:02.

PRO’s Opinion: There is some contact from Bravo, but it is minimal and not enough to conclude that not penalizing him was clearly and obviously wrong. There is also some contact between the players’ legs, but this is also not conclusive. The Video Review should not have been recommended.


SKC vs SEA: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – not given


What Happened: Fredy Montero (SEA) went down in the Sporting Kansas City penalty area under challenge from defender Andreu Fontàs (SKC). The referee awarded a goal kick to Sporting Kansas City, deeming that no offense had been committed by Fontàs and the ball had last been touched by Montero before going out of play over the goal line.

The VAR formed the opinion that Fontàs had fouled Montero through contact from his right leg into the right leg of Montero without touching the ball and that a penalty kick should have been awarded.

As such, the VAR recommended a Video Review, but when the referee looked at the footage for himself at the RRA screen, he saw, using the camera angle from behind the goal, that Fontàs had clearly played the ball prior to making any contact on Montero. This was a good challenge.

The referee retained his no penalty decision; however, after review, he should have changed the goal kick decision to a corner kick, as the footage showed Montero had not touched the ball at all, and only Fontàs had touched it.

On-field decision: Corner kick.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 1:55.

PRO’s Opinion: From some camera angles, it did appear that Fontàs had failed to play the ball, hence the review; however, the camera behind the goal shows the touch clearly. This recommendation for review should not have been made.


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


What Happened: Corey Baird (HOU) went down in the NSH penalty area under challenge from Walker Zimmerman (NSH). The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

However, when the VAR checked footage of the situation, he saw that Baird had been brought down by Zimmerman, whose right leg had made foul contact into the left leg of Baird after Baird had tried to hook the ball past Zimmerman. This was a clear foul, and the non-award of a penalty kick was a clear and obvious error. As such, the VAR recommended a Video Review, and after looking at the footage for himself at the RRA screen, the referee concurred and awarded a penalty kick to HOU.

On-field decision: Corner kick.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 1:50.

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


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


What Happened: Javier Hernández (LA) went down in the Real Salt Lake penalty area under challenge from Marcelo Silva (RSL). In real-time, the referee did not identify an offense by Silva and penalized Hernandez for handball after he fell to the ground, feeling he had tried to draw the foul from Silva. He awarded a direct freekick to RSL.

The VAR checked footage of the incident and formed the opinion that the non-award of a penalty kick was a clear and obvious error. The footage showed that Silva had placed his right arm onto the left shoulder of Hernandez before his right leg then made contact into the back of Hernandez’s left leg, tripping him.

As such, a Video Review was recommended, but when the referee arrived at the RRA, he found the screen not to be functional. In such circumstances, the procedure stipulates for the referee to hear a description of the incident from the VAR and then make a decision. Based on the information provided by the VAR, the referee changed the on-field decision.

On-field decision: Direct freekick (to Houston Dynamo).
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty (to LA Galaxy).
Length of review: 3:20.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a correct Video Review intervention as there had been no offense committed by Hernandez. The only offense was the one by Silva when he fouled Hernandez. It was unfortunate that the screen did not work, and in these unusual circumstances, the referee was correct to take the advice of the VAR and change the decision to reach the correct outcome.



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