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FeaturedThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 34

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

Week 34 overview
There were 11 Video Reviews during Week 34.


ATL vs MTL: Review for goal (offside) – given


What happened: A goal was scored by Giorgos Giakoumakis (ATL) but disallowed by the on-field officials for offside after a delayed flag and whistle.

The VAR analyzed the available angles and determined that Xande Silva (ATL) did not touch the ball when he challenged Gabriele Corbo (MTL) for the ball before the goal was scored. Therefore, there was no offside offense by Giakoumakis. An on-field review was recommended, and after Video Review, a goal was awarded to Atlanta United.

On-field decision: Offside.
Type of review: Goal.
Final decision after review: Goal.
Length of review: 2:30.

PRO’s opinion: This was a good example of a delayed flag and whistle and a good use of the Video Review system to reach the correct outcome.


PHI vs LAFC: Review for goal (offside) – not given


What happened: A goal was scored by Dániel Gazdag (PHI) and awarded by the on-field officials.

The VAR analyzed the available angles and determined that when Kai Wagner (PHI) crossed the ball from the left, Mikael Uhre (PHI) was in an offside position. He then interfered with play when he touched the ball. An on-field review was recommended, and after Video Review, the referee rescinded the goal and restarted play with an indirect free kick.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal.
Final decision after review: No goal.
Length of review: 1:20.

PRO’s opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to disallow a goal for offside, interfering with play.


CHI vs NE: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – not given


What happened: Mark-Anthony Kaye (NE) challenged Brian Gutiérrez (CHI) for the ball inside the penalty area, and Gutiérrez went to ground. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

The VAR determined that there was foul contact from Kaye’s foot on the foot of Gutiérrez as the two players entered the penalty area and recommended an on-field review. The referee was not able to view the incident at the RRA due to issues with the monitor and maintained his original decision of no penalty.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: Unconfirmed (technical malfunction).

PRO’s opinion: In situations where the referee cannot see the images on the monitor at the RRA, it is advised that the referees follow the recommendation of the VAR. In most cases, the VARs are correct in their recommendations.

However, in this situation, the light contact on the foot was not impactful and the non-awarding of a penalty kick was not a clear-and-obvious error. The referee opted to stay with his on-field view that Gutiérrez had slipped before any contact from Kaye occurred.


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


What happened: A volleyed shot from Nemanja Radoja (SKC) was blocked by Sebastian Kowalczyk (HOU) inside the penalty area. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

The VAR determined that Kowalczyk had raised his right leg and extended his left arm to attempt to block the shot. The ball struck his left fist. An on-field review was recommended, and after Video Review, a penalty kick was awarded for a handball offense.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 2:12.

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


SKC vs HOU: Review for red card (serious foul play) – not given


What happened: Johnny Russell (SKC) challenged Nelson Quiñónes (HOU) for the ball on the touchline. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

The VAR determined that Russell went over the top of the ball and endangered the safety of his opponent, by making high contact with his studs in the calf of Quiñónes. An on-field review was recommended, and after Video Review, the referee issued a red card for serious foul play.

On-field decision: Throw in.
Type of review: Red card (serious foul play).
Final decision after review: Red card.
Length of review: 2:15.

PRO’s opinion: The referee believed that Russell had played the ball in real-time and had not seen the contact to the calf. This was a good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error.


DC vs RBNY: Review for penalty kick (in or out) – given


What happened: Omir Fernandez (RBNY) took a shot at goal, which hit the arm of Russell Canouse (DC). The referee awarded a penalty kick.

The VAR analyzed the available angles and determined that this contact had clearly occurred outside the penalty area. An on-field review was recommended, and after Video Review, the referee rescinded the penalty kick and awarded a direct free kick.

On-field decision: Penalty kick.
Type of review: Direct free kick.
Final decision after review: Direct free kick.
Length of review: 2:38.

PRO’s opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to reach the correct outcome.


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


What happened: A shot from Ryan Gauld (VAN) was blocked by Brayan Vera (RSL) inside the penalty area. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

The VAR determined that the arm was in an unnatural position and had created a barrier for the ball. An on-field review was recommended, but after Video Review, the referee maintained his decision not to award a penalty for a handball offense.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 4:00.

PRO’s opinion: The ball deflected from the body but then goes to an arm that is unnaturally positioned and had created a barrier for the ball. A penalty kick should have been awarded for a handball offense.


POR vs COL: Review for red card (serious foul play) – not given


What happened: Felipe Mora (POR) and Andrew Gutman (COL) challenged for the ball in the penalty area. Mora went to ground in the process of kicking the ball at the goal, while at the same time Gutman was attempting a clearance. There was contact between the two players, and Mora’s studs made contact just above the ankle of Gutman, who had not played the ball. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

The VAR saw the point of contact with the studs above the ankle of Gutman and recommended an on-field review. After Video Review, the referee maintained his original decision of no red card.

On-field decision: Yellow card (foul challenge).
Type of review: Red card (serious foul play).
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 2:40.

PRO’s opinion: There are a mix of considerations as to whether this was serious foul play. The referee was correct not to issue a red card for serious foul play. While the point of contact and the frozen image look bad, both players were kicking at the ball simultaneously, and Mora plays the ball normally and without any secondary action.


NYC vs TOR: Review for penalty kick (handball) – not given


What happened: A shot from Mounsef Bakrar (NYC) was blocked by Shane O’Neill (TFC) inside the penalty area. The referee was unsure if the ball struck his body or arm and awarded a corner kick.

The VAR saw that the ball struck O’Neill’s arm after he had gone to ground and opened his arms to make himself bigger in an attempt to block the ball. An on-field review was recommended, and after Video Review, the referee awarded a penalty kick for the handball offense and issued a yellow card for stopping a promising attack.

On-field decision: Corner kick.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty kick and yellow card (stopping a promising attack).
Length of review: 3:20.

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


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


What happened: Julio Cascante (ATX) challenged Riqui Puig (LA) for the ball at the top of the penalty area, and Puig went to ground. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

The VAR determined that Cascante made no contact with the ball before he made contact on the top of the foot of Puig. An on-field review was recommended, and after Video Review, a penalty kick was awarded.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 3:00.

PRO’s opinion: Cascante had stepped down on the top of Puig’s foot before he played the ball. This was a foul and a very good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error.


ATX vs LA: Review for penalty kick (handball) – given


What happened: A shot from Mark Delgado (LA) was blocked by Owen Wolff (ATX) inside the penalty area. The assistant referee informed the referee that the ball was blocked by an outstretched arm of Wolff, and following the assistant referee’s advice, the referee awarded a penalty kick for a handball offense.

The VAR analyzed the available angles and determined that the ball did not touch the arm of Wolff and recommended an on-field review. After Video Review, the referee rescinded the penalty kick and restarted with a drop ball.

On-field decision: Penalty kick.
Type of review: No penalty.
Final decision after review: No penalty.
Length of review: 1:15.

PRO’s opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error. There was no handball offense; however, as the whistle was blown after the ball left the field, the game should have been restarted with a corner kick.




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