The end of the Major League Soccer regular season is approaching, with the final round of games taking place this weekend, on Sunday, October 22.
Whether clubs are playing for pride, a place in the postseason, home advantage, or a bye, almost every game this Sunday has something riding on it. Kickoff is at 4:00PM ET across the board, for MLS’ Decision Day.
Decisions are at the forefront of the mind for PRO, too. Video Review was introduced to the league earlier this season, and the MLS Playoffs will be the highest-profile games to date. Peter Walton, PRO General Manager, is confident that his referees, and the new system, will stand up to the test.
The officials will all come together on Saturday for one more training camp in Texas, before jetting off around the country for their respective Week 33 assignments.
“As we go into the Playoffs, not only are we looking at fine performances on the field, we’re looking for fine performances off the field as well,” he explained. “Collectively it’s all about getting that big decision correct.
“This year we’re more than confident that game-changing decisions in any of our playoff games will be fully detected by either our on-field official or our off-field official.
“Although Australia used it fleetingly last year in a few of their playoff games, these are the highest profile domestic games of that ilk.
“For me and for the country, they’re the most important games. This is a serious testing situation, but we’re going into it with more than 100 games under our belts already, and that’ll stand us in good stead. We’re taking it down to the wire and making sure the officials are fully prepared and focused.
“I’m confident that we’ll get some great results, and hopefully we won’t even have to revert to VAR, but if we do, we’ll get the right decision.”
“These are hugely important games, and on that last weekend there’ll be some nail-biting decisions, but hopefully it’ll all be about the clubs, the goals, and the players – and not necessarily decisions made, or not, by officials.”