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Editorial: VAR Went against and For the Red Bulls

photo by Matt Kremkau

Every once in a while something crazy or nutty will happen in an MLS match that can't be described on how or why that type of play, or those types of plays happen during a professional soccer match. In fact, these referee decisions make us scratch our heads as we have seen some weird moments in the 25 years of this league.

But with the addition of a Video Assistant Referee, there have been more positive and decisive moments in MLS than ever before, until we saw what happened at Soldier Field this past Saturday night. For the first time we have seen an egregious use of the mechanism and it went against the Red Bulls in the first half of the match.

The Chicago Fire was awarded a penalty in the 15th minute as it looked like Ashley Fletcher handled the ball inside the Red Bull area, VAR got involved and informed referee Jon Freemon to head to the monitor. We all saw the replays as Ashley Fletcher tucked his right arm close to his body in a defensive position and the ball struck his arm as he turned. Yet the referee kept the penalty call.

Then Tom Edwards who we all thought equalized got his goal removed because Aaron Long was in an offside position. Yet Long was nowhere near that ball, nor was Edwards looking towards him when he shot that ball in the 18th minute. Yet VAR & Freemon came together again and went against the Red Bulls to remove the equalizer.

Now as I remember long ago in the 2006 MLS Season the club started on the road at RFK Stadium against DC United and earned a free kick near the DC area, two attackers were placed at the posts of the DC goal which at the time was called passive offside, and legal. Youri Djorkaeff converted the free-kick to take the one goal to nil lead and many DC fans and players are still grumbling over that.

But Aaron Long who wasn't near the play, nor received the pass as the ball was shot on frame by Tom Edwards, somehow allows VAR to wipe out the original equalizer from the scoreboard? That's a tough pill to swallow.

Even though they got the call correct when Patryk Klimala got taken out inside the Chicago Area by Miguel Navarro within the final minute of regulation by Miguel Navarro, Victor Rivas who was the VAR official has some work to do and needs to restudy how to review these calls inside the areas of a soccer pitch, because what we saw inside the first 18 minutes of this match was a complete disgrace.

In reality, the Red Bulls should've won this match hands down by a final of three goals to nil, yet Chicago gets a gift to start the match, but after the craziness and the huge rainstorm with lightning put the game on hold, Head Coach Gerhard Struber found a way to get the players to perform in the second half and got their timely goals. But the referees who are running VAR, need a refresher course and get it done as quickly as posible.


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