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Should the Colorado Rapids Goal Against Sporting KC Have Been Disallowed?

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The VAR failed to flag an error in the SKC versus Rapids matchup.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Sporting Kansas City Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Have you already moved on from the Sporting Kansas City match last Saturday against the Colorado Rapids? I had, but an astute commenter on The Blue Testament (shoutout to David Greenwald) points out that on the weekly Instant Replay segment on MLSsoccer.com between Andrew Weibe and Charles Davies, that they highlighted some plays that I hadn’t gone back and looked at.

Full disclosure, I was sitting in The Cauldron in the first row with my wife, daughter and my cousin’s family, which included two more small children. They can’t see well unless they are in that row, but it also makes for a poor viewing angle. My daughter was excited on the car ride home to watch back the game to try to see herself on TV, but by the next day the excitement had waned and we never went back and watched the game from a better angle.

The Instant Replay crew had all the angles though. The Sporting KC portion of the video starts at 1:45. Watch it and let’s discuss.

First they highlight the incidental contact with Lalas Abubakar’s arm in the box. Alan Pulido takes a shot that deflects off Abubakar’s body and then hits his outstretched arm. Ball to hand, no PK. I’ve got no problem with that.

Then at 2:12, they switch to the Jonathan Lewis goal. Lewis takes a shot and it deflects off of Graham Zusi and bounces back to him, but it hits his bicep before he settles it and puts it home. What is funny is that the replay of the goal, at the 2:24 mark, a fan can clearly be seen holding his arm in the air and patting it trying to signal handball. Unfortunately the referee, and in this case really, the VAR, misses the call. I can excuse the bang-bang nature from the referee who has an admittedly bad angle but the VAR is supposed to check every goal.

So I’ll give center ref Fotis Bazakos a pass, but VAR Sorin Stoica missed this one. Obviously if that goal doesn’t go in, Colorado probably play much differently so there is no saying it would have ultimately led to a 1-0 SKC victory. Though it most certainly changed the game.

If you aren’t sure where the “arm starts,” IFAB has a diagram for you. It’s definitely below the armpit where Lewis’ arm makes contact with the ball.

Do better PRO.