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6ix on a Wave: Virtual Insanity

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What do you think about VAR? Are you on board after this weekend’s game?

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MLS: IFAB Workshop Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Some of you may have noticed there was no 6oaW last week. It seemed wholly unnecessary, seeing as we had ample opportunities to vent, soapbox, and eventually hug it out all over this here blogsphere. Our fearless leader, Charlie, gave us a fantastic post-mortem where we distilled all our hot-takes from his game thread into proper sentences. Mitchell gave us a thoughtful op-ed and an entire podcast. Gianluca stepped in with another terrific, if difficult to read (thanks to his blatant honesty) tactical analysis.

Our boys did us proud down in Guadalajara. I’d like to think we repaid the favour with our coverage of that magical run.

(Also, I meant it when I said I would do backflips to avoid posting that sad ‘loser’s lament’ playlist chock-a-block with B.B. King tunes.)

Now, like the Reds, our focus must switch to MLS proper with haste. Just as Pamanci11 expressed earlier this week, there really isn’t that much/any time to recover. The next few matches may well decide our domestic season, and our ‘super-club’/dynastic ambitions.

Criswell predicts that when the dust settles on TFC 2018, the history books will have a field day with this roller-coaster. This weekend, we ‘enjoyed’ another set of loops and corkscrews. Yes, our boys are exhausted, the team is plagued with injuries, and the CCL hangover is real. Those final 15 minutes — plus the 4 or 4000 minutes of stoppage time — is all the proof we really need.

I’m not that worried. There are too many positives here. Once again, Micheal Bradley has proven his leadership and utility is unmatched in the league, if not the continent. Once again, Alex Bono has shown his considerable quality. Oso is a player possessed. It was so nice to see Victor find his vector again, and on and on ...

What wasn’t so nice? To put it succinctly, as we turn our focus back to MLS, it seems we’ve also switched from an unholy (and to my mind, entirely justified) fear of getting “CONCACAF’ed” to getting “VAR’ed.”

Let’s be clear here — this is a ‘homer’ site, so this discussion will undoubtedly be ‘homer’ in nature. No shame in that.

For what it’s worth; I’m absolutely a fan of the technology, and I’m pretty proud that MLS is on the vanguard of its eventual incorporation into the world game. It’s Howard Webb’s pet-project, remember, and he has quite the pedigree.

But there have been growing pains, and I suspect there is a pitched battle going on between this new tech and the old-guard referees, not immune to a heavy dose of criticism themselves.

To my eye test, the struggle is between promise and reality. VAR promises another check-and-balance to officiating the beautiful game — no more missed calls, no more ‘hand(s) of God’. The reality, it could be argued, has been over-long stoppages in play, and maddening — bordering on tragi-comic — inconsistency. One could go a step further and say it’s become yet another opportunity for coaches, players, and yes, sometimes even the refs themselves, to affect the outcome of matches. For good, evil, and everything in between.

Now that all that is out of the way, we can muse about what went down at BMO over the weekend.

So, here we go:

In general, What do you think about VAR? Do you think it’s a good for the sport?

In macro, What do you think about the VAR-fest that we witnessed on Saturday? Do you think the calls were correct? Do you feel the ref gave enough stoppage time to cover all the VAR-induced breaks in the game? Do you think Toronto FC got ‘VAR’ed’?

This is undoubtedly a polarizing issue, so onto the comments we go. Let’s make some magic.

THIS WEEK’S PLAYLIST:

... is a bit of a Frankenstein monster. We got songs from Chicago! We have tracks with dripping ennui to take us through our collective CONCACAF/Chicago draw hangovers! We have a smattering of recommends from the usual cadre of fellow muso-snobs in the community! We have “Just Can’t Get Enough”!

Consider it a mirror to what I can only assume is the fractured emotional state of our beloved Reds, and a clearing house as we gear up to show MLS we won’t “go gentle into that good night.” (ed.: Hey poetry is my thing! - COC)