The United Soccer League and Major League Soccer are working with PRO to expand the league’s leadership role in Video Assistant Referee technology for the 2017 season.
Live, in-game VAR testing will be conducted at 25 regular-season USL matches, with the process starting during the opening weekend for the Richmond Kickers’ home game against the Harrisburg City Islanders.
“We are pleased to increase our role in the VAR system for the 2017 season,” USL President Jake Edwards said. “The implementation of new technology to further enhance officiating accuracy is important toward the continued evolution of the sport, and the USL is honored to play a big part in this effort.
“This season’s VAR process has been planned out accordingly to include nearly every USL team, and we look forward to once again working with MLS, PRO and The International Football Association Board to enhance the VAR system.”
The 2017 expansion of VAR testing in USL comes after The IFAB, in partnership with PRO, oversaw tests at several New York Red Bulls II home matches during the second half of the 2016 regular season.
History was made on August 12, 2016, during NYRB II versus Orlando City B, when PRO referee Ismail Elfath used the VAR system to confirm a red card infraction to OCB defender Conor Donovan.
The VAR process consists of an additional referee positioned in a booth, and video technology is utilized through every available camera angle to advise the center referee of clear game-changing situations: goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and cases of mistaken identity.
The full VAR schedule, which sees 29 of the 30 USL teams involved in at least one VAR match, is listed below:
Richmond Kickers v Harrisburg City Islanders
Swope Park Rangers v Portland Timbers 2
Seattle Sounders 2 v San Antonio FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds v Toronto FC II
Portland Timbers 2 v Colorado Springs Switchbacks
New York Red Bulls II v LA Galaxy II
Toronto FC II v Richmond Kickers
Rochester Rhinos v Tampa Bay Rowdies
Bethlehem Steel v Charleston Battery
Saint Louis FC v Toronto FC II
OKC Energy v Phoenix Rising
Louisville City v Charlotte Independence
Orlando City B v Rochester Rhinos
Ottawa Fury v Orlando City B
Sacramento Republic v Rio Grande Valley
LA Galaxy II v Swope Park Rangers
Reno 1868 v LA Galaxy II
Tampa Bay Rowdies v FC Cincinnati
Charleston Battery v Louisville City
Real Monarchs SLC v Seattle Sounders 2
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 v Swope Park Rangers
San Antonio FC v OKC Energy
Rio Grande Valley v Orange County SC
Charlotte Independence v Richmond Kickers
FC Cincinnati v Harrisburg City Islanders