The Professional Referee Organization has acknowledged an error that could’ve swung Major League Soccer’s Western Conference landscape for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Decision Day saw Colorado Rapids elevate to the No. 1 spot in the West and the LA Galaxy drop out of the playoffs after being in the top seven for most of the season, and the final results happened in dramatic fashion.
Sporting KC fell 1-0 to Real Salt Lake on Sunday when Damir Kreilach scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to send the visitors into seventh place and the Galaxy into eighth following a 3-3 draw with the LA Galaxy.
But it could’ve been 1-0 to the hosts just five minutes earlier when RSL’s Justen Glad handled the ball in the box. The foul wasn’t spotted and VAR determined it wasn’t a clear and obvious error, one that would’ve sent KC to the spot.
The video assistant referee (VAR), when checking the play, saw that the ball made contact with Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad’s right hand, but concluded that the non-awarding of a penalty kick did not reach the threshold of a clear and obvious error, and therefore did not recommend a Video Review to the referee. However, the footage shows clear movement to the ball by the right hand of Glad, in a manner which can reasonably be interpreted as being consistent with a handball offense.
Sporting, of course, would’ve had to make its penalty and hold onto the lead, but a win would’ve put them level on points with Colorado, with KC holding the tiebreaker with its 18th win to the Rapids’ 17th.
And RSL would’ve still had to score, possibly twice, to overcome LA Galaxy’s 48 points. RSL did finish with 48 and beat the Galaxy by virtue of total wins.
KC will be fuming, knowing the West’s road to the MLS Cup Final would go through Children’s Mercy Park and not Colorado. The Galaxy under Greg Vanney have plenty of talent and playoff wisdom and would’ve fancied themselves to make a run at the cup.
Fine margins, even with VAR. Referees have a brutally-scrutinized job and are often treated unfairly, and referees arre kept awake by their game-changing errors just as often as players, so we say this with respect to anyone charging into a profession we wouldn’t dream of doing even as a hobby:
How’s this missed by multiple referees?
A better question: For all the belly-aching and debating we do about VAR and the flow of the game, this was a taste of our past when it comes to questionable calls. Do you prefer it to the VAR alternative?
Arsenal are pushing hard to sign Moises Caicedo, with the Ecuadorian midfielder not playing for Brighton in the FA Cup against Liverpool amid a reported new $86 million bid from the Gunners. Anthony Gordon has signed for Newcastle from Everton for a fee believed to be around $60 million.
Dango Ouattara (Lorient)
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Ferdinand Okoh (Dorchester) Loan
James Hill (Hearts) Loan
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Harry Clarke (Ipswich Town)
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Fin Stevens (loan recall)
Mads Bech (loan recall)
Beaux Booth (Dorking)
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Paris Maghoma (loan recall)
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Salomon Rondon (released)
Nathan Broadhead (Ipswich)
Tom Cannon (Preston) Loan
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Jake Cain (Swindon Town)
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In Liam Delap (loan recall)
Maximo Perrone (Velez Sarsfield)
Luizao (Sao Paulo)
Armstrong Okoflex (loan recall)
Danny Ings (Aston Villa)
Thierry Nevers (Bradford) Loan
Craig Dawson (Wolves)
Pierre Ekwah (Sunderland)
Darren Randolph (AFC Bournemouth)
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In Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid) Loan
Joe Young (loan recall)
Louie Moulden (loan recall)
Theo Corbeanu (loan recall)
Christian Marques (loan recall)
Lewis Richards (loan recall)
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Dan Bentley (Bristol City)
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Out Leo Bonatini (released)
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Leonardo Campana (Inter Miami)
Connor Ronan (Colorado Rapids)
Fabio Silva (PSV) Loan
Matija Sarkic (Stoke) Loan
Ki-Jana Hoever (Stoke) Loan
Jackson Smith (Walsall) Loan
From clicking on the links above to read the latest reports and analysis, having Sky Sports News live on Peacock all day long and to our own Pro Soccer Talk live deadline day show which starts at 5:30pm ET on Jan. 31, you won’t miss a thing.
Click on the video below to send in your questions for the PST crew for our deadline day chat where we will round up all of the deals happening late in the window, dish out grades to Premier League teams based on their business and give our analysis on the best signings of the January window.
Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?
Almost at the halfway mark of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest though Newcastle is not going away and Manchester United has surged into contention.
Uneven Tottenham are hanging in the top four battle, while Liverpool is struggling to stay in the Champions League scrap. Chelsea has some work to do while surprising Fulham and Brighton are hanging around on the periphery with fine campaigns.
Who are the candidates for relegation?
Everton, Bournemouth, and Southampton currently occupy the relegation places.
But Leicester, West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Wolves, and Leeds all find themselves within a few points of the bottom three after a topsy-turvy start.
Below you will find the latest Premier League table.
Would a move to Leeds be a good fit for Weston McKennie?
Stylistically the Premier League is a great fit for Weston McKennie and Leeds are probably one of the best teams he could move to.
He loves to fly into tackles and drive forward from midfield and playing just in front of Tyler Adams and Marc Roca or to the right of them would be a perfect spot for him at Leeds.
It would give Leeds more control of games and the Yorkshire club also play to his strengths. it’s a really good fit.
McKennie has struggled to have a big impact at Juve this season as injuries have taken their toll on him over the last few years. That would perhaps be the one concern about his move to the Premier League, as McKennie seems to pick up quite a few knocks.
However, looking at his stats below from this season at Juventus, the chances he creates per game and the shots per game will improve and his accurate passing will help Leeds become less susceptible on the counter.
McKennie is a player who rattles into tackles, feeds off the energy of his fans and his mentality is perfect for the aggressive side Jesse Marsch has created at Leeds.
The Texas born midfielder has always wanted to play in the Premier League and he’s got his wish at a club where he will play week in, week out and one which suits his style of play perfectly.