Brazil players were in disbelief after Chris Richards’ yellow card was overturned and foul rescinded

The United States men’s national team’s 1-1 draw vs. Brazil had a number of talking points including a bizarre moment with a Chris Richards yellow card in the second half.

In the 51st minute Brazil forward Rodrygo was about to be in on goal until Richards brought him down outside of the penalty box. Honduran referee Said Martinez issued the American defender a yellow card and awarded Brazil a free kick in a dangerous position.

Then things got weird. And by weird we mean Concacaf-y.

The video assistant referee, VAR, called down to Martinez to take a second look at the foul to see if it should’ve been a red card for Richards for the clear denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

Martinez went to the monitor only to see in the replay that Richards had gotten a toe on the ball during his tackle on Rodrygo.

What happened next was some VAR history as Richards’ yellow card was taken back and the free kick was chalked off.

Chris Richards yellow card VAR incident

There’s only one problem. VAR can’t do that. The only instances where VAR can intervene are on goals, penalty kick decisions, red-card incidents and mistaken identity. Reviewing and overturning yellow cards isn’t something that VAR is supposed to do.

The Brazil players were furious about Martinez’s decision as they felt robbed of a free kick, which in a sense they were.

It was truly an ironic situation whereby making the correct call (Richards getting the ball) the referee followed incorrect procedure (reviewing and overturning a yellow card).

This writer personally feels like if the right call was made, then what’s the big deal?

The good news is that Wednesday’s game was a low-stakes friendly and the controversy will die down within a week. Had this been a Copa América knockout stage game then there would have been some serious issues.

At the end of the day Brazil got a taste of Concacaf and Richards has another bizarre card moment to add to his resume. Something about Richards and cards creates weird moments like in December when he was accidentally shown a red card.

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