At long last, a Sporting Kansas City match featured instant replay to review a referee’s key no-call.
But the final decision went the other way.
After a video review, Colorado used an overturned no-call for a late game-tying penalty kick and tied Sporting KC 1-1 in a preseason match Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz.
The Rapids were awarded the penalty kick after referee Allen Chapman ruled Sporting KC should have been whistled for a handball in the box — a call he missed in live motion.
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“I thought they for sure got the (final) call right,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “I thought it was a handball when it happened.”
Major League Soccer, in conjunction with the Professional Referee Organization, is testing video assistance for referees during select preseason matches. The league plans to implement the technology — used for goals, penalty decisions, red-card incidents and cases of mistaken identity— in the second half of the season.
On Wednesday afternoon, the questioned play occurred in the 87th minute, with Sporting KC holding a 1-0 lead on goal from Amer Didic. More than 70 seconds later, as the Rapids were preparing for a throw-in, Chapman whistled for play to stop.
He walked over to a blue tent just past the sideline and stared at a computer monitor before returning to the field to make his ruling — which he signaled by outlining a square with his hands and then pointing to the penalty dot.
The total delay in action was approximately 70 seconds, which was added to second-half stoppage time.
Colorado midfielder Dillon Powers buried the penalty kick to tie the match.
The manner in which Sporting Kansas City concluded its 2016 season — on a few controversial calls in a playoff loss against Seattle — prompted its players and coaches to advocate MLS to adopt instant replay to review key calls.
MLS has said the technology will be utilized to help referees reduce “clear errors.” The system requires a video assistant referee reviewing every play and then, when necessary, buzzing the head referee to review a play. The head referee holds the final decision.
As for the match Wednesday, Sporting KC players Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber saw their first game action of the preseason as part of the Desert Diamond Cup tournament. Zusi started at right back.
Didic headed home the only goal for Sporting KC in the 51st minute, finding the other end of a cross from Tyler Pasher.
Sporting KC continues its preseason schedule in the Desert Diamond Cup at 4:30 p.m. Saturday against the New York Red Bulls.