VAR controversy reaches MLS as Rooney red card overturned in DC United defeat

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The former England international found himself at the centre of drama as he was initially sent off for a lunge on Michael Barrios before a reprieve

Wayne Rooney found himself at the centre of VAR controversy for DC United last night when his straight red card was overturned.

The former England international’s side found themselves 1-0 down against Dallas on Thursday evening and looked to have been reduced to 10 men after Rooney’s lunge on Michael Barrios saw him receive a straight red card from referee Nima Saghafi.

However, in dramatic fashion VAR was utilised in order to review the incident, and upon a second viewing Saghafi opted to overturn his decision and show the forward a yellow card and keep him on the pitch.

DC United failed to capitalise on the decision however, with Dallas doubling their lead through substitute Dominique Badji after 65 minutes – just four minutes after he was brought on.

One of DC United’s own substitutes failed to have the same impact however, with Luciano Acosta on the wrong end of a VAR-assisted decision just 15 minutes after being brought on.

Acosta appeared to stamp on FC Dallas’ Paxton Pomykal as the two challenged for the ball on the right-wing, and initially received no penalty until VAR stepped in.

Saghafi issued the attacking midfielder a straight red card upon a second viewing, reducing DC United to 10 men – although that ultimately did not change the final score.

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Acosta’s sending off proved to be one of many over the last two days of MLS action, with eight red cards issued across 10 games.
Rooney currently captains DC United and has been a key player for the MLS side since joining in July 2018, with 12 goals to his name in 20 appearances so far this season.

In his inaugural season in the United States, the former Manchester United striker netted 12 times in 21 appearances as his side reached the knockout round of the MLS Cup before losing on penalties to Columbus Crew following a 2-2 draw.

This season’s goal tally marks the third consecutive season that Rooney has reached double figures in terms of goals scored in the league, having netted 10 for Everton during the 2017/18 season before leaving for DC United.

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