You might never see a goal more unique than the one that Teal Bunbury scored in the 44th minute of Saturday’s game against Sporting KC.
The striker collected his fourth of the season after receiving the ball inside the box. With no one around him, Bunbury calmly turned to goal and beat goalkeeper Tim Melia. It was all too easy because Bunbury was well behind the defense. It seemed certain that the goal would be called back but Video Review showed the Roger Espinoza—not Diego Fagundez—touched the ball last.
HT: Teal Bunbury's goal stands following Video Review and @NERevolution lead 1-0 at the half. #NEvSKC https://t.co/31VLucFhtY— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 29, 2018
It was a moment that SKC coach Peter Vermes was still thinking about after the game.
“I’m still trying to absorb it because there’s a lot of things that happened,” Vermes said. “The linesman puts his flag up for offside – a lot of times what happens with players, especially in the situation where everybody sees that the player was off-sides, everybody kind of stops. Not saying that’s an excuse, but that happens.”
While the assistant referee did raise his flag, the center referee never blew his whistle. This meant that play was allowed to continue. Ultimately, everything was reviewed by the Video Assistant Referee, who ruled that no infraction had occurred.
Upon seeing the reply, Vermes was still wasn’t sure about who made final contact with the ball, an important detail when determining if Bunbury was onside.
“What I have seen in the footage, it’s not clear and obvious who kicked the ball,” Vermes explained. “Roger is wearing green shoes and Fagundez is wearing orange, and the orange shoe is in front of the green. Honestly, it’s a hard thing for me to say.”
Espinoza agreed with his coach, saying, “I just remember hitting the bottom of his cleat.” Meanwhile, Fagundez had full confidence that the referee would rule in his favor.
“I was 100 percent [sure],” Fagundez said. “I told Teal right away. I was like, don’t even worry about, it’s a goal. The referee said we have to review it and we have to see if it was offside. It was clear that I didn’t go to shoot or pass it.”
In the end, the Revs got the goal and three points.
While it’s a strike that will never win Goal of the Week, it could be important at the end of the season when the Revs are hoping to secure a playoff spot.
“At the end of the day [the referees] had to talk, it went to review, and it was a goal, so it was good for us,” Fagundez said. “It was an ugly goal, but at the end of the day, we’ll take that ugly goal.”