Week 22 -
Two Reviews for Serious Foul Play
Houston v Philadelphia- 58'
Orlando v NY Football Club - 80'
HOU v PHI - What Happened:
After awarding a free kick against Houston's Martinez for a foul on Philadelphia's Trusty, VAR saw this as a clear error and recommended a review for serious foul play on Martinez's challenge. The referee went to the screen and came back to issue a red card.
In the final analysis this was an incorrect recommendation with an incorrect outcome. The correct outcome should have been a yellow card to Martinez for a reckless challenge.
The Video Review Process:
When VARs start a check for serious foul play they start with the point of contact. If you look at the image to the right, the contact does not look good, it fact it looks like a red card worthy challenge and that is what the VAR concentrated on.
During the check you can see that the VAR gets to the point of contact, looks for the best angles per usual, but then locks into the angle that we see in the freeze frame. Then he goes into slow motion, which can make things looks worse, without checking the play in full speed. He then does not see that the force of the tackle is going down onto the foot and not into the shin. Foot on foot contact is usually seen as a reckless challenge, unless there is excessive force.
The Referee's Decision: VARs send the definitive angle that they used to make their decision to the RRA monitor. With a back up angle at the ready in case the referee asks for it. The referee saw the same close-up angle in slow motion, never seeing the contact in full speed. One can reasonably see that this angle does have elements of serious foul play and this contributed to the referee changing his decision.
Minimal Interference: The guiding principle of video review is "minimal interference, maximum benefit". This incident did not hit the mark with minimal interference. The game was not looking for a red card, the players and coaches from both teams were not expecting a red card from this tackle. A review for serious foul play that is a clear and obvious error should not come as a surprise to either team.
ORL v NYFC - What Happened:
At the start of a counter attack, NYFC Morales was fouled by ORL O'Neil. The referee initially allowed for advantage as NYFC retained possession with offensive possibilities. After the ball went out of play the referee gave a yellow card to O'Neil for was he felt was a reckless challenge. The VAR recommended a review after which the referee correctly showed a red card to O'Neil for serious foul play.
The Video Review Process: The VAR was just completing a check for a possible handball penalty kick when the tackle happened. The VAR had a clear view of the tackle with the high EZ camera. Within 45 seconds he recommends a review. (30 seconds faster than the incorrect review in Houston). -Normally it takes under a minute for a correct review to be recommended.
In this case there is clear contact above the ankle with the force going into the leg, with no attempt to play the ball, obvious serious foul play.
The review took only 1:30 to complete. Average time for SFP reviews is 2 minutes.
Substitution During Review: Part of PRO's procedures for Video Review is to not allow for a substitution during a check or review. This is to avoid the possibility of the red card player leaving the field prior to the showing of a red card or allowing either team to make tactical choices after the result of the check or review is known. You may see in the future the substitute being held off the field until the review is completed.
For any additional questions related to these incidents, other incidents, or video review as a whole, please contact Christa Mann or Sean McCabe of Major League Soccer via the contact details below.
Major League Soccer
Manager, Video Review Operations