In this edition of "MLS After Dark" we had a situation that had my full attention, which somehow left me even more puzzled than it usually does with this league. Be sure to watch the video in the link below.
I'm the Spanish radio commentator for the New York Red Bulls. They were over in Montreal this past weekend, and the end of this match was the stuff of MLS legend.
We were 3 minutes into the 5 minutes of stoppage time with the score 1-1, when CF Montreal wins a penalty with a handball by RBNY centerback Amro Tarek. Devastating for the Red Bulls as they looked to salvage a point after seeing their 1-0 lead disappear. So up steps the...first penalty taker.
Red Bulls goalkeeper Carlos Coronel has been saving his team right and left these last few weeks, and he's stopped two penalties already this season. So it was no shock when he stopped the shot with a beautiful save to his left. My voice erupted to call the game saving stop by the Brazilian, an incredible moment.
But MLS referee Allen Chapman had his suspicions, and that's where the madness began to unfold.
He chose to use VAR to review if Coronel had come off his line early. Now, the amount of time it took him to overturn the penalty and call for a retake was very quick. After seeing several replays, it must have been milometers and I still could NOT tell if he was fully off his line. A tough decision for Coronel and you had to feel for him, but that's irrelevant because we're here for the chaos and not for the sound decision.
Chapman calls for the retake, and Montreal chooses to use another penalty taker. Now I'll be honest, I did not know you could switch players on a penalty retake, and I can confirm it was a point of discussion in the Red Bulls locker room after the match.
So up steps penalty taker number 2, and Coronel stops it AGAIN! What a beast. He'd done it and preserved the draw for a second time!
Only this time, he was definitely off his line early. The stutter step by the taker just confused the keeper and he was way off his line. Chapman went back to the screen, and I was legitimately laughing on the radio, definitely saying "So very MLS." Just how many opportunities were Montreal going to get to win this game?
At this point we're in the 97th minute of the supposed 5 minutes added on.
Montreal decides to line up their THIRD penalty taker, captain Victor Wanyama. As the clock neared the 98th minute, the former Tottenham Hotspur man drilled a rocket of a penalty, that Coronel incredibly got a hand on, but couldn't keep out of the net.
The fans went nuts at Saputo Stadium in Montreal. The Red Bulls players were in disbelief, and the staff as well. They even posted an entire clip of what the hell had just happened. You can make the judgment on that first penalty kick yourself.
The match didn't end until the 103rd minute which just added humor to the whole "5 minutes added on" thing. It was hysterically shocking watching it all go down. Definitely one of those truly MLS moments that you only see in our wacky-beautiful league.