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The Definitive Angle: MLS Cup Playoffs – Round One

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

MLS Cup Playoffs Round One overview
There were six Video Reviews during Round One.


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


What happened: Goalkeeper Jacob Jackson (NE) challenged Julián Carranza (PHI) for the ball inside the penalty area, and Carranza went to ground. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

The VAR analyzed the available angles, determined that Jackson made no contact on the ball, but had tripped Carranza, and recommended an on-field review. After Video Review, the referee awarded a penalty kick.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 2:25.

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


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


What happened: Nouhou (SEA) challenged Bernard Kamungo (DAL) for the ball inside the penalty area, and Kamungo went to ground. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

The VAR analyzed the available angles, determined that Nouhou made no contact on the ball and had tripped Kamungo, and recommended an on-field review. After Video Review, the referee awarded a penalty kick.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 2:55.

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


DAL vs SEA: Review for penalty kick (holding) – not given


What happened: Jesús Ferreira (DAL) held the jersey of Raúl Ruidíaz (SEA) as the pair entered the penalty area and continued to hold it inside the penalty area to prevent Ruidíaz from attacking a cross. Ruidíaz went to ground. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

The VAR analyzed the available angles, determined that Ferreira’s actions had impeded Ruidíaz’s ability to meet the cross, and recommended an on-field review for a penalty kick. After Video Review, the referee maintained his on-field decision.

On-field decision: Play on.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: No change.
Length of review: 2:07.

PRO’s opinion: In the referee’s opinion, the hold on Ruidíaz did not have sufficient impact to be a penalty because goalkeeper Maarten Paes (DAL) had come out and intercepted the cross. Although a subjective decision, the hold on Ruidíaz happened as the cross was being made and impacted his ability to possibly challenge Paes for the ball.


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


What happened: A goal was scored by Dénis Bouanga (LAFC) and awarded by the on-field officials.

The VAR analyzed the available angles and determined that Bouanga was in an offside position at the moment the ball was last touched by his teammate, Carlos Vela (LAFC). The VAR recommended an on-field review, and after Video Review, the referee disallowed the goal and awarded an indirect free kick to Vancouver Whitecaps.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside.
Final decision after review: No goal.
Length of review: 2:02.

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


RSL vs HOU: Review for penalty kick (encroachment) – given


What happened: During the penalty shootout, a penalty kick was taken by Amine Bassi (HOU) and saved by goalkeeper Zac MacMath (RSL). The on-field officials judged that MacMath had moved forward with both feet off the line before the kick was taken and ordered the penalty to be retaken due to the goalkeeper’s encroachment.

The VAR recommended a Video Review for no encroachment because the goalkeeper did have at least one foot on or above the goal line. After seeing the image, the referee rescinded the retake decision and confirmed the save.

On-field decision: Penalty kick – encroachment.
Type of review: No encroachment.
Final decision after review: No encroachment.
Length of review: 0:45.

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


NE vs PHI: Review for red card (violent conduct) – not given


What happened: Mark-Anthony Kaye (NE) challenged Dániel Gazdag (PHI) for the ball, and Gazdag went to ground. As Kaye, who was off balance, placed his foot down after the challenge, he made contact with Gazdag. The referee did not identify an offense in real-time and allowed play to continue.

The VAR analyzed the available angles, determined that Kaye had used excessive force when he stepped down on Gazdag’s stomach, and that it was not incidental contact. After Video Review, the referee issued Kaye a red card for violent conduct.

On-field decision: Foul.
Type of review: Red card (violent conduct).
Final decision after review: Red card.
Length of review: 1:46.

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



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