Instant replay is coming to the USL.
But don’t get too excited Pittsburgh soccer fans — it’s still in the experimental stages and the Riverhounds won’t be featured in any of the games that USL-MLS will be experimenting with the technology.
The USL, in collaboration with Major League Soccer, will be involved with video review testing as the International Football Association Board (The IFAB) will oversee a live Video Assistant Referee trial during the game between the New York Red Bulls II and Orlando City B at Red Bull Arena on Friday night (7 p.m. ET).
“We are absolutely thrilled to be part of what is a historic moment for our sport,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “The use of the VAR system will help referees make sure that clear and obvious errors are omitted from the game, boosting the integrity of the sport in the future. We are very excited to see the system in live action at Red Bull Arena.”
The IFAB conducted the first closed-door live tests of the VAR system last month at Red Bull Arena, as officials were able to familiarize themselves with the use of the technology, while also aiming to maintain the flow of the game.
In addition to the work previously done in the United States, workshops and meetings have also been held in the Netherlands and Switzerland. Now, for the first time, the system will be used for a professional league game.
“With our team having seen the system in operation throughout this testing phase, we are looking forward to seeing further VAR live experiments used in USL games,” said USL VP of Competition and Operations Perry Van Der Beck, who will be in attendance on Friday night. “This is a groundbreaking moment for soccer as a whole, and we are proud to be part of it as we work alongside MLS and the IFAB on this project.”
Following Friday night’s game, the Red Bulls II’s games against Louisville City FC (Aug. 19), FC Cincinnati (Aug. 28), the Harrisburg City Islanders (Sept. 7) and FC Montreal (Sept. 17) are also set to host VAR live trials.