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VAR decision changes result of MLS preseason match

Photo by Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

Photo by Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

While full Video Assistant Referee implementation remains a few months away, its preseason trial run has made its first major impact on the result of a match, perhaps providing a glimpse at the future to come.

In the 87th minute of a preseason clash between the Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City, a free kick from the right side of the field was swung into the box by the Rapids where it was questionably handled before being cleared. While play was allowed to continue, at the next stoppage in play, the referee halted proceedings and made his way towards the sideline where the VAR review station was set up. After a short deliberation, the referee re-entered the field of play and pointed to the spot for a Rapids penalty.

Check out the video of the play and subsequent decision (begins at 1:37:00):

The score at the time was 1-0 in favor of Sporting KC, and the VAR-altered decision ultimately allowed the Rapids to tie the match at 1-1, where it ended in a draw. This marks the first time a VAR decision has altered the result of a match, but surely won’t be the the last. Earlier in the preseason, VAR was used to confirm a penalty for Real Salt Lake late in a 1-1 match against the San Jose Earthquakes, but RSL failed to convert.

While the preseason operates as a live test, the VAR system will be tested offline, without match impacting decisions, early in the MLS season. The league has previously stated that they hope to fine-tune the system over this time before a full implementation during the summer of the 2017 season.

10 comments
  • bobbyoshea

    One could argue that any VAR decision changes the result of the match because you would never know the alternative reality. You know, butterfly effect or something.

    Like

  • Old Dirty

    As long as it changes it for the better. I don’t agree with the commentator though that the decision should always rest with the head ref. I don’t like the delay introduced with the head ref having to go over and review the video. They should have a central office location that reviews video while the play goes on. The “office” makes the decision and it’s communicated to the head ref at the next break in play. That would lead to a minimal delay and disruption in play.

    Like

  • Ash

    I hope they get it quicker than that. What if a goal had been scored in the meantime? I assume that would still count and then they go to the penalty?

    Like

    • Clyde Frog

      Taking away scored by SKC, if they were to have scored a goal creating the next stoppage in play, or by Colorado would have each created interesting problems.

      Like

      • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US

        The options are almost so much that it couldn’t be written into a rule book.

        Like

  • two cents / lowercase letters guy

    I agree with old dirty except that there’s no need to wait for a break in the play. the off-field video crew should be continually advising the head official in real time via a wireless headset.

    Like

    • two cents / lowercase letters guy

      in my view, basically, the head official does his job, as usual, EXCEPT that, in his wireless headset, he has continual, additional information from the video crew, which is located off-field

      Like

      • two cents / lowercase letters guy

        so in my view, no need to wait for a break in the play, the head official just does his job, as usual, but with extra information from video crew, via technology/wireless headset, that might (or might not) influence his final decisions on the field.

        Like

  • two cents / lowercase letters guy

    I think the extra information made available to head official from video crew can only make the officiating better. (it is not a gimmic, no.) and I can’t wait to see its full implementation in mls later this year.

    Like

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