For the first time in its history, Major League Soccer used ‘video assistant referee’ in Philadelphia Union’s 3-1 victory over FC Dallas on August 5. It was a historic victory for ‘The U’ as it’s the first time they’ve defeated FC Dallas, since their inception in February 2008. (ESPN FC)
The video review system is the result of over three years of extensive research and testing by the Major League Soccer and Professional Referee Organisation (PRO). (mlssoccer.com)Embed from Getty Images
(FC Dallas’ Maximiliano Urruti)
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) played a crucial role in the match as the use of video review ruled out FC Dallas’ Maximiliano Urruti’s goal at the 79th minute.
The video review accurately showed that FC Dallas striker committed a foul on Philadelphia Union’s goalkeeper John McCarthy.
In a post-match interview, FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja couldn’t hide his skepticism about VAR’s effective use in MLS. “I saw it after the game, and still I have to say that it generates a lot of thoughts, but we respect it”, he stated. “I have to be honest and say if the referee had the chance to review it, they made the decision, and I have to assume that it is correct. But when you go and see it, because we have the right to see it after the game, and we may have different opinions, but we are in the same boat and accept it and I respectfully say this is a call for the referee”, Pareja further added. (ussoccerplayers.com)
On August 6, the VAR came in to use for the second time that weekend in Portland Timbers’ 3-1 victory over LA Galaxy.
(Portland Timbers’ midfielder Diego Valeri celebrating his goal against LA Galaxy – Image Source: The Oregonian)
The video review disallowed Galaxy’s striker Gyasi Zardes’ goal in the 11th minute of the match.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) and FIFA selected Major League Soccer to test the effectiveness of VAR system in June 2016. It made MLS one of the six leagues worldwide selected for trials. (The Oregonian)
Currently, the use of Video Assistant Referee is still under tryout phase. IFAB and FIFA are closely monitoring VAR tests across all the selected leagues. IFAB and FIFA will take a joint decision by 2019 on the permanent implementation of VAR across major football leagues.