USL Championship: A punch to the gut

The USL pioneered the use of video review, testing the new system in 2016 and 2017 before it was introduced as a permanent part of the game in 2017.

Too bad, then, that the USL Championship isn't using it in 2020.

VAR might have settled the controversy surrounding the outcome of the Western Conference quarterfinal match between the Phoenix Rising and Sacramento Republic FC.

With the score tied 0-0 late in the second overtime period, the Rising's Santi Moar did good work to cut in from the left and beat two Republic defenders. He fired off a shot that appeared to be headed to the far corner, where a Republic defender was standing.

But the shot never made it to the far corner. It changed course as it flew through a maze of players and went into the goal at the near post, sending Sacramento goalkeeper Rafael Diaz the wrong way for the only goal in a 1-0 Phoenix win.

Just what happened?

The Rising game report said the the ball "deflected off" Solomon Asante. The USL Championship game report said the Phoenix captain "redirected" Moar's shot.

“I just went all out,” Asante said of his game-winning goal in the 114th minute. “It went off my chest but who cares? It went in.”

But replays showed Asante turning and punching the ball into the goal with his left hand -- a clear handball.

"I’ve just seen the goal there and it’s a handball punched in," Sac coach Mark Briggs told reporter Evan Ream.

2 comments about "USL Championship: A punch to the gut".
  1. Sharon Anderon, October 12, 2020 at 8:17 a.m.

    Why not include the clips of slow motion that shows the cheater's handball? Was hoping SoccerAmerica would've found it beneficial to back up the claim of handball by including a clip. :-(

  2. R2 Dad, October 12, 2020 at 4 p.m.

    Impossible to see it from the clip, which I guess is the point. I believe in the Bundesliga and EFL there is a minimum number of cameras required to support VAR, and this match does not have enough of them to properly support the required retroactive review. I imagine it's the same for MLS. 

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