Busy, BUSY, week for officials between last weekend and even last nights contests. Lets get right into it.
The Match: Columbus Crew vs New England Revolution
The Referee: Alan Kelly
VAR: Sorin Stoica
The Play: In the 69th minute the ball was sent over the Revolution defense from the Crew defensive third. The ball hit the side of the head of Revs defender Andrew Farrell and in behind Keeper Matt Turner. Turner, Farrell and Crew attacker Gyasi Zardes all gave chase as the foot race was on. Farrell was first to the ball and a collision occurred with contact initiated by Zardes. The ball was cleared off the goal line by Farrell but right into Matt Turners leg where it careened into the goal. VAR took a look at the play but found there was no clear and obvious error on Referee Alan Kellys part and the goal for the crew stood.
My Take: This play is hard for me to look at for two reasons, one: I am a Revs fan so I want it to be a foul so badly... and two: as a referee I have seen plays like this at many levels (youth, high school, and the favorite Sunday league) and its always the same. A race to the goal line, and a collision. sometimes the ball goes in, sometimes it stays out but the main look that a referee is looking for are contact that prohibits the defenders from playing the ball. I do believe that Zardes willingly and knowingly added a little extra at the end of the play. However, I think that Matt Turner and Andrew Farrell were already going to the ground to keep the ball out of the net when Zardes made contact. I also think that Zardes kept his hands and arms in a normal, bracing manner and did not extent his arms to push Turner or Farrell. So looking at photos and videos of this replay probably a hundred times... I am fine with no call because the VAR rule states there needs to be clear and convincing evidence to overturn a play and I do not see it there. However, as a Revs fan... of course it was a foul.
The Match: Real Salt Lake vs LAFC
The Referee: Silviu Petrescu
The Play: In the 17th minute the ball was played through and wide to LAFC's danger man Carlos Vela. Vela puts in a cheaky touch to push past Real Salt Lake defender Andrew Brody and Brody commits a foul. LAFC fans wanted a red for Denial of an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity (DOGSO). A yellow card was issued for the challenge and VAR did not recommend a review.
My Take: I have had a few plays similar to this but closer to goal where DOGSO was given this year. That being one of the elements (distance to goal) I do not see DOGSO taking effect here. RSL defender Justen Glad (seen below) is also close to a playable area to slide over. That takes DOGSO out of the picture. I also struggle with players selling calls to a referee, I do think Vela went down real easy looking for DOGSO, which is fine, but he had a step on Brody and may have had a chance at goal if he just kept running. Good work from match referee Silviu Petrescu.
The Match: Nashville SC vs Philadelphia
The Referee: Robert Sibiga
The VAR: Ismir Pekmic
The Play: In the 45th minute the ball was sent into the Union box and came across to Alejandro Bedoya. The ball took a bounce on Bedoya and hit the inside upper area of his arm. The referee made no call live and the play went to review. After review there was no penalty issued.
My Take: Without disrespecting the officiating crew here, I do feel live the angle of the touch to the hand would have been tough for Sibiga to see, however. After looking at the monitor here it did seem clear and obvious that Bedoya willfully made his body larger and used the arm to get the ball in a playable area for himself. I do feel a penalty was missed here.
I will be back in a day or so to write about a few calls I saw last night that should have been looked at.