NEWS
07/20/2017 15:31 EDT | Updated 07/23/2017 18:03 EDT

Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney to referee: 'You are having a shocker'

TORONTO — Greg Vanney's first MLS ejection as coach proved to be a classy exit.

Irate at referee Jorge Gonzalez after a disallowed goal and several other decisions in a 2-2 tie at New York City FC on Wednesday, the Toronto manager managed to make his point early in the second half without resorting to profanity.

"I knew I didn't have a lot of space to say what I wanted to say, so my actual comment was 'You are having a shocker. This is a total embarrassment,'" he recalled Thursday after arriving home.

"I didn't curse, I didn't use any other language ... I said it rather forcefully but that was what I said."

Gonzalez promptly gave him his marching orders, leaving assistant Robin Fraser to run the sidelines. The ejection game in Vanney's 105th game in charge counting regular season and playoffs.

The play in question saw a Ben Spencer header go into the goal off Jay Chapman's leg soon after halftime for a 2-1 Toronto lead, with the players returning to midfield for kickoff. Then the officials had a belated rethink and eventually waved off the goal, ruling Chapman was ahead of Spencer and thus offside.

Vanney points out the assistant referee never raised his flag on the play and that the review didn't happen until a NYCFC player ran over to the official.

"For me what really did me in was the process to which they actually reached the conclusion that there was offside," he said. "I couldn't tell whether he was offside from where I was so I'm not even arguing that. Even though now I've seen it I don't think he was necessarily offside. I just don't know how they could possibly reach that conclusion." 

The bile had been building.

Vanney had been in the fourth official's ear in the first half when Toronto was penalized at the edge of its penalty box for what he deemed a soft call. His message was that he wanted the same call when it came to the treatment on his forward.

Instead Vanney saw what he considered a clear foul on Spencer right in front of him, leading to a takeaway that resulted in the first-half stoppage time goal by David Villa tying the game at 1-1.

By chance, MLS announced Thursday it was implementing video review league-wide on Aug. 5.

A fifth member of the game officiating crew — the video assistant referee — will have access to all available broadcast angles to check all plays "for potential clear and obvious errors or serious missed incidents in four game-changing situations: goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards, and cases of mistaken identity."

Vanney, who took part in a lengthy briefing on the video review the night before the New York game, says the video process likely wouldn't have called back the goal in question.

"The threshold for video review to overturn a goal or anything that happens on the field is clear and obvious (errors). It's pretty safe to say that you could watch that play from any angle that they had available to us and it's still not clear and obvious. So I actually think that the goal would have stood and we would have moved on."

MLS and the Professional Referees Organization (PRO) have been testing video review for some three years.

On the plus side Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, Toronto rallied to tie the game on a Victor Vazquez penalty in second-half stoppage time.

And it managed to mount the comeback without captain Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Justin Morrow, Tosaint Ricketts, Jonathan Osorio and Armando Cooper, all at the Gold Cup, and with Steven Beitashour injured and Nick Hagglund working his way back after a lengthy absence.

Toronto also lost star striker Sebastian Giovinco in the first half to a back bruise.

"I though the response was excellent on what was a challenging day with a lot of guys missing," Vanney said.

 

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