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FeaturedThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: NWSL Week 23

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

Week 23 overview
There were four Video Reviews during Week 23.


CHI vs LOU: Review for goal (offside) – given


What happened: A goal was scored by Bianca St Georges (CHI) and awarded by the on-field officials.

The VAR determined that an offside offense had been committed prior to the goal. However, when the referee arrived at the monitor, it was identified that the offside infraction identified by the VAR was outside the Attacking Possession Phase (APP) for the goal and that there had been a change of possession that restarted a new APP.

The correct APP that led to the goal was clean and the on-field decision was correct. The referee then confirmed the goal to Chicago Red Stars.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 3:14.

PRO’s opinion: This was an unnecessary recommendation. During the review process at the Referee Review Area, the correct APP was checked, and the goal was correctly awarded.


CHI vs LOU: Review for penalty kick (foul challenge) – given


What happened: Julia Bianchi (CHI) challenged Savannah DeMelo (LOU) for the ball inside the penalty area after a half-cleared corner, and DeMelo went to ground. The referee awarded a penalty kick.

The VAR analyzed the available angles and determined that Bianchi played the ball fairly before both players collided. An on-field review was recommended, and after Video Review, the referee rescinded the penalty kick and restarted play with a drop ball for Chicago Red Stars.

On-field decision: Penalty kick.
Type of review: No penalty.
Final decision after review: No penalty.
Length of review: 4:17.

PRO’s opinion: This was a difficult play on the ball for the referee to detect in real-time because of how the players came together.


CHI vs LOU: Review for red card (serious foul play) – not given


What happened: Uchenna Kanu (LOU) attempted to kick a bouncing ball at goal. While the attacker was in kicking motion, Tierna Davison (CHI) headed the ball that was at head height clear and Kanu followed through and kicked the defender’s face, endangering the safety of Davison. The referee issued a yellow card for a reckless challenge.

The VAR determined this was serious foul play and recommended an on-field review. After Video Review, the referee stayed with his on-field decision of a yellow card.

On-field decision: Yellow card – reckless challenge.
Type of review: Red card – serious foul play.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 4:03.

PRO’s opinion: There are a mix of considerations in situations like this. The attacker had their eyes on the ball and was unaware of an approaching defender, and they also had a bent leg at the point of contact. For these reasons, the referee did not interpret the incident as serious foul play. However, the attacker has a responsibility when playing the head-high ball with their foot not to endanger the safety of an opponent. A red card for serious foul play was the preferred outcome.


RGN vs NC: Review for goal (offside) – given


What happened: A goal was scored by Kerolin Nicoli (NC) and awarded by the on-field officials.

The VAR analyzed the available angles and, in consultation with the AVAR, determined Nicoli was in an offside position. An on-field review was recommended, and after Video Review, the referee maintained his decision to award a goal to North Carolina Courage.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 5:22.

PRO’s opinion: This was a very tight decision, and while the upper body and the right knee may have been leaning into an offside position there was no video evidence that the on-field decision was clearly wrong. The referee was correct in maintaining his decision because no camera angle provided a definitive angle.



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