MLS

VAR makes key decisions recently in MLS matches

Video assistance was the focus in two MLS games.

The Video Assistant Referee (or VAR) has been an interesting topic this season throughout Major League Soccer, and with each passing week it seems to be making more of an impact. That was certainly the case this past MLS week, as two decisions certainly stood out in a significant way.

One was quite clear, while the other one was a bit more difficult for everyone to agree upon. That occurred during this past Sunday’s match between Atlanta United and New York Red Bulls, when Josef Martinez was wheeling away in celebration as he put the home side up 2-0 with a first-half strike.

However, the official called the goal off, citing a foul during the sequence. While there does seem to be some contact between Martinez and the defender, it is not easy to fully confirm the information from the final decision.

Instead of a two-goal advantage for Atlanta, New York leveled the match before the half-time break and eventually won 3-1.

The other situation took place on Monday, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic received a red card for violent conduct in the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 victory at Montreal.

Late in the first half, the 36-year-old striker smacked an opponent in the back of the head, and was sent off despite complaints of his own injury.

Critical moments need to be consistent

Fans ultimately want to see the call be correct, and that is the basis of using the VAR system. However, consistency is very important as well.

Some moments, especially Martinez’s disallowed goal, are crucial and will have a serious influence on the final result. Officials must be sure to not only examine the play carefully, but also be efficient with going to a video replay in the first place.

If too much time has elapsed, play has to continue. If not, there is the possibility of saturating the fixture with second-guessing and wasted opportunities.

The VAR system is not perfect, but MLS is helping to show how its effects continue to grow and evolve.