LA Galaxy launch scathing attack on VAR after loss to New York Red Bulls
CARSON, Calif. -- In the wake of their 3-2 defeat to the New York Red Bulls, the LA Galaxy ripped the officiating as well as MLS' use of video review.
It was a night where the Galaxy came out on the short end of several calls. Ola Kamara had a goal correctly ruled out in the first half, but the Galaxy were steaming over an apparent second-half tally by Zlatan Ibrahimovic that was disallowed in the 78th minute.
The Swede appeared to convert Romain Alessandrini's centering feed, and the assistant referee on the field hesitated before ruling Ibrahimovic offside, and the call wasn't overturned.
Six minutes later, referee Allen Chapman deemed that Galaxy defender David Romney was guilty of handling Kemar Lawrence's cross in the penalty area, though replays appeared to show the ball had hit him in the side as opposed to the arm. That call wasn't overturned either, and Alejandro "Kaku" Gamarra converted the ensuing penalty for the game-winner.
When asked about the officiating, Galaxy manager Sigi Schmid said, "I thought it was awful. You watch Ibra's goal, which would have made it 3-2, and the linesman ends up calling offside.
"And if you watch the linesman -- go and watch the replay of the linesman -- he almost dropped the flag he was so nervous putting the flag up. So obviously they felt, if he let's the goal stand, they don't overturn it the other way. Because he calls offsides, they feel it's not clear, but when you watch the replay, he's clearly onside.
"I don't understand the PK either, but it's harder to see that on replays. I think they got the first one right, where they called Kamara off. I've always said I'm a fan of VAR [video assistant referees], but I don't know if I am anymore."
Goalkeeper David Bingham was the most strident in his comments. Before addressing the media he joked with teammate Ashley Cole, asking the defender to cover any fines that might result from his comments. He then proceeded to rip the officiating.
"I think today [the officiating] was absolutely horrendous," said Bingham. "Ibra is a half yard onside.
"[On the penalty] it hits Dave square in the back, there's a ball mark there. And they say they're reviewing it, but who is reviewing it? So you're saying three people missed it, the AR missed it, the center [referee], and the VAR guy missed it? If that's the case they shouldn't referee another game this year, because that's just incompetence."
In MLS, a video assistant referee checks all plays using available angles and then signals the head referee, who can choose consult video himself before deciding whether to change a call.
But Bingham said he thought the VAR system should be scrapped.
"[Chapman] says they reviewed both of them. How do you review it in five seconds?" he asked. "If you review it, you don't even need to go look at it. It's blatantly obvious. That's what we have VAR for. If this is what's going to happen, we might as well take it away.
"The [Premier League] voted against it, and we might as well follow their footsteps at this point.
"I think [VAR] is a complete waste of time. What's the point? We've had [four] goals called back I think, and two of them were blatantly onside. How are you reviewing that? Is it two guys that are incompetent and can't see it?"
After ending his comments, Bingham said to Cole, "I'll send you a bill."
Ibrahimovic took the high road, declining to blame the referees or VAR. He focused instead on the Galaxy's performance, one where it fell behind to a Daniel Royer goal in the seventh minute and a second from Florian Valot four minutes after half-time.
The Galaxy then rallied to equalize through Kamara and Giovani dos Santos, with Ibrahimovic assisting on both goals, but it wasn't enough.
"I never give excuses or blame the referee because we all try to do good, [Chapman] tried to do good," he said. "We can do better and he can do better.
"If it was a goal or not, then we concede a penalty against us. Somebody says it was not a penalty. Somebody says yes. If you look at the video it was not a penalty. We have to get used to it.
"But like I said, I don't want to give excuses for the [referees] on the field. It's all about us. We need to do more, much more. It's unacceptable, it's not OK, and to lose three home games.
"This is the first time I lose three games in a row, so that is not only about me; it's a team effort. We need to do much more, that's for sure. We need to wake up."
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.