LAFC's Bradley: Overturned red card wrong decision, hurt flow of game

ATLANTA—For the first time in Major League Soccer history, the referee used Video Review to overturn a red card.

“It’s a terrible way to start the game, psychologically for all the players,” said LAFC head coach Bob Bradley, whose team suffered a 5-0 defeat to Atlanta United. “The whole game is already out of whack ... It’s a bad way to start a game.”

The foul in question occurred in the match's opening minute, when referee Ted Unkel initially issued a straight red card to Atlanta United defender Chris McCann for his tackle on LAFC midfielder Benny Feilhaber.

After conversation with Video Assistant Referee (VAR) Edvin Jurisevic, Unkel decided to initiate a Video Review and ultimately overturned his initial call, rescinding the red and issuing a yellow card to McCann.

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Considering whether McCann’s challenge was worthy of the red card Unkel initially issued, Bradley took a long pause before responding.

“One foot for sure is going in exposing the studs, so it seems to me, the way it’s been explained over and over and over is that when you go in and you show your studs, then whether or not you actually get the player or not, it’s a red card. That’s how it’s always been explained and like I said, I’m pretty sure that one foot went in that way.”

Unkel initiated a second Video Review near the end of the match, eventually awarding a penalty kick to Atlanta after he judged Walker Zimmerman to have fouled Atlanta's Miguel Almiron in the penalty area. Unkel did not initially call a penalty, signaling for an Atlanta corner kick. He pointed to the spot following Video Review.