The Impact of VAR on Penalties by Alex Bartiromo

A couple weeks ago I took a look at the role that penalties play in adding luck to the outcome of an MLS match. In the process of writing that article, something came up that warranted further investigation, but didn’t quite fit into my initial piece. We wondered whether the introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in 2017 had changed the distribution of penalty calls in MLS. With that in mind, I decided to take another look at the penalty data to see what I could find about the nature of penalty calls themselves, rather than how they affect the outcome of a match, and whether the introduction of new technology affected referees’ decisions.

Read More

Expected Narratives: VAR She Blows by Ian L.

xN is our weekly look at what you can expect to read, write, and discuss about Major League Soccer this week. We take a look at each prospective narrative and rate it based on its strength and whether or not it has any actual merit.

VAR giveth and VAR taketh away. Despite having a brand new soccer specific stadium to show off, the emergence of a free kick challenger to Giovinco’s throne, and David Villa’s 400th (and 401st) career goal, surprise surprise, everybody is going to be talking about video review again this week. There’s no sense putting this off any longer than necessary. Let’s just get right into it with a comment I received a number of times following last week’s entry:

No, Ian, VAR is actually terrible
Narrative Strength: Evergreen
Narrative Accuracy: B-

Read More