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Monday morning VAR: Taking a look at the penalty call on Jack Elliott

Jim Curtin called it one of the worst he’s seen this season but is he right?



I’m pretty sure I’ve consistently sided with the referee on these articles, but honestly, I’m not sucking up. All the same, referee Ted Unkel got this call right. This one is actually very simple: Jack Elliott tripped Richie Laryea.

Looking at it in slow-motion, Elliott actually does a good job of defending Laryea toward the outside of the Union’s penalty area. Elliott stays with Laryea step for step, and Laryea has nowhere to go. Then Elliott bites and tries to earn himself another tackle.

Elliott’s last step is actually a lunge, though it’s not that close to the ball. Perhaps he was trying to block a possible cross, or poke the ball away, though neither of those things happened. What did happen was that Laryea’s next step was into Elliott’s outstretched leg.

Had Elliott simply stayed in stride and Laryea trips over his leg, it’s most likely a no-call. But in these situations, the referee has to look at who hit who. In this situation, Elliott’s outstretched leg means that he caught Laryea, and Laryea didn’t just run into Elliott. 

However, in the end, only one thing mattered. Andre Blake is a very good goalkeeper.

Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

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