The Professional Referee Organization acknowledged a “significant officiating error” occurred on the play, New York City FC, known as the Boys in Blue, were seeing red at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon after a penalty kick awarded to them was overturned.
Early in the MLS match between host Toronto FC and the visitors from New York, with the score 0-0, NYCFC forward Talles Magno went down in the box following contact by Toronto’s Kosi Thompson, who appeared to clip Magno’s heels. Referee Drew Fisher pointed to the penalty spot, giving NYCFC a penalty kick, and the chance to go up 1-0. However, the initial decision was overturned following Video Review. TFC charged back with two goals in the first half to eventually win the match 2-1.
On Sunday, the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) acknowledged a “significant officiating error” occurred on the play, basically saying that the foul should not have been overturned.
In a statement, the PRO said: “The Professional Referee Organization acknowledges that a significant officiating error occurred in an important match situation in the eighth minute of the game between TFC and NYCFC. The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) incorrectly determined the awarding of a penalty kick to be a clear and obvious error, as the selection of camera angles examined did not reveal foul contact from TFC’s Kosi Thompson on NYCFC striker Talles Magno.
“While an available camera angle did reveal foul contact, that alternative camera angle was not examined by the VAR, nor was it made available to the referee on the pitch-side monitor,” the statement continued. “The referee changed his decision and rescinded the penalty kick. PRO can confirm that the awarding of a penalty kick was not a clear and obvious error, and the referee’s initial decision should have been allowed to stand.”
As for Thompson, who made his first start for TFC in the match, the 19-year-old said there might have been very slight contact on the play.
“There was no intention. I just slowed down,” Thompson said after the match. “Bones (TFC goalkeeper Alex Bono) already had the ball, and I was shocked when he went down. And when the ref called it, obviously calling a penalty in the first five minutes, you’re definitely going to be shocked, no matter who you are on the pitch. And so I just waited. Thankfully went to VAR, was able to correct his mistake. After that, there was no more shock.”
When asked again if he felt any contact, Thompson replied: “No, if anything, with the slightest contact, it was his back heel. Nothing intentional, nothing malicious. He sort of tripped over himself as well. So that’s pretty much all the contact that I saw myself,” the Toronto native said.
The win for TFC was the club’s second in a row, improving its MLS season record to two wins, two losses and a draw. The Reds play next Saturday against Real Salt Lake (3W 2D 1L) at Rio Tinto Stadium.
There was concern that Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio might be a little sluggish when the Reds faced New York City FC last Saturday at BMO Field.
After all, Osorio had returned from Panama with the Canadian national team late last week after helping the Canucks, over three games during the international break, secure a spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
But instead of looking fatigued or disinterested, the Brampton native stood tall, helping the Reds earn a 2-1 victory over defending MLS Cup champions NYCFC before being substituted out of the match by coach Bob Bradley with TFC ahead 2-0 in the 60th minute.
Osorio, 29, played a solid match and earned an assist in Toronto’s first goal by Jesus Jimenez in the 31st minute (Alejandro Pozuelo also picked up an assist on the goal).
For his effort, Osorio was named to the Major League Soccer Team of the Week.
TFC goalkeeper Alex Bono made some solid saves in the New York victory to earn a Team of the Week bench honours — his fifth MLS Team of the Week honour.