Patrick Vieira: “Of course, there’s going to be times of frustration, times of disappointment. But I think in the long term it will help the game.” (Jeff Swinger/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
PURCHASE, N.Y. — Buckle up, everyone. It could get bumpy at times.
The Video Assistant Referee comes to Major League Soccer this weekend, a program whose goal is to ensure that the correct calls are made on the field.
Four calls can be reviewed: goals and whether there might have been a violation during the build-up, penalty-kick decisions, red cards (yellow cards will not be reviewed) and mistaken identity (in awarding a yellow or red card).
A fifth referee will sit in a booth in the stadium reviewing questionable plays. If he deems one needs to be viewed, he will look at it. If a call should be changed, he will communicate that to the man in the middle to review the play. The referee will have the final say as to whether a call will be overturned.
Of course, how the crowd, players or teams react is another matter.
New York soccer fans could find out as early as Sunday, when New York City FC hosts the Red Bulls in the Hudson River Derby at Yankee Stadium at 6 p.m.
NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira sees the good and the bad of this nascent system.
“The reason behind that is to help the referees, so hopefully that will help them,” he said after training at SUNY-Purchase Thursday. “It is all about supporting the referees and try to have less mistakes in the game. We are all going to support it.
“Of course, there’s going to be times of frustration, times of disappointment. But I think in the long term it will help the game.”
At least one of Vieira’s players hope so.
“I’m optimistic about,” goalkeeper Sean Johnson said, adding that veteran referee Howard Webb, who is overseeing the league’s implementation of video replay, gave the team a full run down of what the whole set up to be and what to expect.
“As players, we have to be optimistic and give it a chance to do what it’s supposed to do,” Johnson said.
Forward Jack Harrison took a wait-and-see attitude.
“It could be beneficial, it could not be,” he said. “We have to wait and see until this weekend.”