Good thing Saturday night’s Union game was behind a paywall, because it was a shit show. The short version is that they came from behind to take a 2-1 lead, Julian Carranza was red carded, then they fell apart late in a 3-2 loss.

The highlight, or lowlight perhaps, was a prolonged double review after the second Montreal goal, in which the ref initially waved the goal off, only to go back and look at the monitor again and allow the goal instead.

PRO Referees, which assigns all of the MLS zebras, came out and released a statement on their website:

In the 90th minute of the March 18 match between CF Montréal and Philadelphia Union, Montréal’s Chinonso Offor scored the tying goal. Upon checking the goal, at the moment that ball was last played by a teammate, it appeared to the video match officials that Offor was in an offside position. However, Philadelphia Union’s Kai Wagner was closer to the goal line than Offor, but was out of the view of the camera angles being used by the video match officials.

Therefore, the Video Assistant Referee recommended an on-field review for a possible offside in the attacking phase leading to the goal. After looking at the available video angles, the referee determined that Offor was offside and cancelled the goal.

Following the review and before the play was restarted, the video match officials viewed new video footage with a wider camera angle and were able to see Wagner close to the goal line, keeping Offor onside. The VAR immediately communicated to the referee to delay the restart, and the referee blew his whistle before the ball was put into play. The referee went to the Referee Review Area to look at the incident again, saw Wagner keeping Offor in an onside position, and correctly awarded the goal.

Right, so the explanation here is that they didn’t have a camera angle showing that Kai Wagner was keeping the goal scorer onside. This screen grab was pulled by @Call_Me_ZoomE on Twitter and I circled the portion of the play that was initially off camera:

The entire thing was a circus and it took forever to figure out, but the bottom line is that they got the call right. That’s all we’re asking for from the refs in soccer, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, curling, jai alai, whatever. If they expedited this thing, but got it wrong, then what? The refs admitted they had it incorrect after the first review, went back and looked at it again, and then got it right, so if the teams were reversed we’d be applauding them for their due diligence in making sure, above all else, that the correct decision was made.

Also, for Union fans asking, I don’t think Offor fouled Glesnes in the buildup here. If you go back and watch the play again, Glesnes is trying to get around Offor to get inside leverage and ball side position. As he’s doing that, the feet appear to be tangled up, and there’s no whistle. I think if Glesnes was ball side to begin with, and then Offor bundled him over, then Jakob would have gotten the benefit of the doubt.