First Use of Instant Replay in the USL

46:49 - Paul Nicholson puts the rebound in the back of the net, Assistant Referee raises the flag for offsides

47:19 - Goal is awarded

What happened in between is debatable.

First off, this was the correct call (all the Louisville fans can go here and watch it again). Paul Nicholson was not offside when the initial shot came in but the AR's flag immediately went up and the center ref blew his whistle. It seemed that he was not going to give the goal. He went over to confer with his AR (I can't possibly know what about. Did he have to explain that rebounds from opposition players don't count as offsides?).

Many people in the Bailey are describing the referees as looking up at the scoreboard that was currently playing the replay of the not yet given goal. FCC players ran up to the officials (not cool) and Nicholson is on the screen pointing to the replay. Lino overruled.

On decisions like this it's a no brainer to use instant replay. The initial decision was wrong and the correct decision ended up being given. Time elapsed: 30 seconds. It took half a minute to make the correct decision and give FC Cincinnati a more just result (the keeper, ten yards off his line and in stoppage time, wraps his arms around Delbridge with the ref five yards away and no penalty is awarded. The refs did not cover themselves in glory in this game.).

Soccer is a very difficult game. I am involved in a prediction league where we guess the result and scoreline of every game. It's the dumbest thing ever. No one can predict a result in soccer. It's all guessing. There's no spread like in football. Games often hinge on very minor things. A team can play light outs for 90 minutes but then there's one mistake and they lose the match.

Getting the correct call matters in soccer infinitely more than in almost any other sport because the goals scored and the margins of victory are routinely so narrow. We often run into situations where the only person in the stadium who doesn't know clearly what happened is the referee because the crowd, players, and press just watched the replay. Since replay boards have been in stadiums, FIFA has directed its officials to ignore them (even though replay was used to send Zidane off in the World Cup after that famous headbutt).

The main argument against this is the slippery slope. If we allow instant replay, then games will be stopped for too long and the flow of the game will be broken up. I point back to this exact example. 30 seconds, not much longer than the time that would have elapsed without the replay. Restrict it to instances where the play is already dead like red cards, penalties, and goals. According to FIFA's own metrics, these instances usually eat up a minute of the clock between whistle and restart and the average time for getting the call from a replay ref is 20 seconds.

When FIFA approved the use of video replay in March, MLS Commissioner Don Garber spoke positively about using it and mentioned USL as a testbed. No league has implemented its use yet. 

Nicholas Murray, USL Associate Director of Communications, conveyed, "As Commissioner Garber indicated yesterday, there have been discussions between MLS and the USL regarding the potential use of instant replay in the USL. However, there has been no final decision made at this point on its implementation for the 2016 season." - Scratching the Pitch

All of the technology needed to implement this is already available because of the league mandated streams, although they all do it with... varying... degrees of success (plan to fix that here). They just have to add another official with a radio and stick him in the video booth. 

We're allowed to do it, we are capable of doing it, and we've proven it helps make the correct calls. How many blown calls will there be until this is implemented in 2017?