Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney blasts offside call, praises team after draw

In the moment, Greg Vanney couldn't comprehend how or why referee Jorge Gonzalez's officiating crew had disallowed Jay Chapman's goal for offside.

That disbelief led to protest, which led to Gonzalez dismissing the Toronto FC coach from his bench, which led to Vanney taking the final 40 minutes or so of a 2-2 draw against New York City FC on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium to watch replays and maybe change his opinion.

It didn't happen.

"Evidently, we’ve started a new review process, which is the opposition tells the referee what happened, and then the referee tells the linesman what happened, and then we change the call," Vanney said after the match of the incident. "And what I don’t understand is how we could be so certain that that player was offside to call the goal back having not seen the moment in the moment. It’s impossible."

Correct or not, it was one of the more unusual offside decisions an officiating crew will ever have to make.

After a bad New York City giveaway, Benoit Cheyrou looped a cross from the left toward Chapman at the back post, though it may have glanced off Ben Spencer's head on its way. Then with the goal gaping, Spencer flubbed his header and it only rolled across the line after a redirection off Chapman's thigh. 

Toronto and NYCFC were both positioned for a restart from the circle before Gonzalez had completed a discussion with linesman Jose da Silva. After it ended, Gonzalez waved his arms to disallow, setting off Vanney and others on the TFC bench.

"First of all the call was wrong, it was onside, because we’ve had a good look at it," Vanney said. "And second of all, there is no chance we can be so certain as to call that goal back if they didn’t see it in the run of play."

Had Chapman's goal stood, Toronto would've had a 2-1 lead on a night where Sebastian Giovinco left early with a back bruise and Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley were away with the US national team.

Instead, they clawed back from Maxi Moralez's deflected, 56th-minute strike, earning a penalty converted by Victor Vazquez in second-half stoppage time.

That was enough to move Toronto one point ahead of the idle Chicago Fire into sole possession of first place and make a good case for being the deepest team in the league.

"Obviously this was not an ideal time for us to be competing for top spot, on the road, in New York City against one of the other league leaders," Vanney said. "We had a lot of guys step up and prove their value tonight, and it's a positive thing for us."