With fans and other leagues watching, Major League Soccer has introduced video replay in dramatic style.
The Video Assistant Referee, or VAR for short, ruled out a goal in FC Dallas’ first-ever loss to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
The VAR disallowed Maximiliano Urruti’s late goal for Dallas after video evidence showed that forward Cristian Colman fouled Union goalkeeper John McCarthy before the shot and he wasn’t able to get to the ball. Philadelphia won 3-1.
The decision took about two minutes.
The VAR also had an impact on Sunday’s game between the Portland Timbers and the LA Galaxy when Gyasi Zardes’ apparent go-ahead goal in the 11th minute was disallowed because of a handball.
The goal would have given the Galaxy the lead and arguably could have swayed the momentum to Los Angeles. Instead, the Timbers went on to win 3-1.
“I think everyone has their opinion on it,” said Portland defender Liam Ridgewell. “But, obviously, it’s coming into the game and it worked in our favor. Ask me next time when it doesn’t. It was great today. So we’ll wait and see next time.”
The goals in Portland and Philadelphia were the only two that activated video review.
“I saw it after the game and still I have to say that it generates a lot of thoughts, but we respect it,” Dallas coach Oscar Pareja told reporters. “I have to be honest and say if the referee had the chance to review it, the (Video Assistant Referee), they made the decision, I have to assume that it is correct.”
There are many eyes on MLS’s rollout of the VAR, who serves as the fifth member of the officiating crew at any given game.
The VAR at each MLS stadium monitors all video feeds of the game that are available, focusing on “potential clear and obvious errors or serious missed incidents” involving goals, penalty kicks, straight red cards and mistaken identity.
If a review is required, the VAR will alert the referee on the field, who will make a box gesture with his hands to indicate the VAR is examining a possible error. All final calls will lie with the head referee.
Two other top-tier leagues…