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On VAR’s rough start at Concacaf qualifying, and the need to stop dangerous plays

Brad Smith/ISI Photos

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. That was one of the parenting tropes of my upbringing. And while I’m pleased to report neither I nor anyone I knew ever lost an eye, it was probably good advice, even if a tad extreme.

Kelley O’Hara was not close to losing an eye on Monday, either, but the sight of Haiti’s Roselord Borgella’s cleat up near O’Hara’s face near the end of the first half was not a pretty one. O’Hara crumpled to the ground in pain, and referee Marie-Soleil Beadoin quickly took the red card out of her back pocket. The decision seemed straightforward enough: A high cleat that made high contact with O’Hara. A dangerous tackle, one that had absolutely no soccer benefit and no place in the game.

The Concacaf W Championship, however, is armed with Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and Borgella’s red card went to review. To the surprise of most viewers, Beadoin put the red card away and changed the call to a yellow. O’Hara, fortunately, was not injured on the play. I’ll get back to that.

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