On Saturday, the New England Revolution got their first glimpses at Video Review when referee Ismail Elfath inspected two plays. Although it’s still new, the Revs like what they’ve seen so far.
“The reality is I’m a fan of it if they get it right,” head coach Jay Heaps explained. “I think tonight they did a nice job of seeing and moving on from it. I’d rather them look at it and make get the right call then not look at it and think they’ve made it.”
The first review came in the 68th minute after Tim Parker ran through Antonio Delamea. The referee went to the sideline to confirm where the foul was committed. In the end, a penalty wasn’t called. Instead, the ball was moved just outside the box, which led to a Lee Nguyen free kick that narrowly sailed over the crossbar.
“Honestly, I didn’t know it was so close when this guy pushed me,” Delamea said. “Some guys came into the locker room and said maybe it was a penalty but I think nothing can see better than camera.”
Elfath would return to the sideline later, this time to take a look at Xavier Kouassi’s foul on Yordy Reyna. Elfath returned quickly without making a change.
The program, which was introduced after the All-Star Game, is meant to help referees get big calls right. It can be used to assess “potential clear and obvious errors or serious missed incidents in four game-changing situations - goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards, and cases of mistaken identity.”
The Revs thought they were going to see Video Review in it’s first week of use. During their game against Chicago Fire, David Accam came down on Scott Caldwell’s leg in play that Heaps thought warranted a second look.
“We believed that after looking at it that the foul by Accam was a red card,” Heaps said. “We wished he had gone over to look at it. If he had looked at it and made the decision no then okay. “
Although there will likely be some bumps along the way as MLS introduces this ground-breaking technology, Video Review is meant to help ensure that the final result is the right result. The Professional Referee Organization is looking for “maximum benefit from minimum interference” and that’s what should happen if the program is used correctly.
“I think players, it’s a fine line between do we want it, do we not want it,” Lee Nguyen said. “At the end of the day, if it helps us make the right calls then you can’t argue with that.”