Trying to decipher whether Orlando should've earned a penalty

Jul 23, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA;  head referee Alex Chilowicz signals a penalty was overturned
Jul 23, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; head referee Alex Chilowicz signals a penalty was overturned / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Referee Alex Chilowicz made no friends in the City Beautiful on Saturday night. Late in the match between Orlando City and the Philadelphia Union, Antonio Carlos went up for a header on an offensive set piece to try and tie the match late. Union midfielder Daniel Gazdag had a fistful of jersey on the play, leading to VAR initiating a review for a potential penalty.

After reviewing the play, Chilowicz didn't agree with the VAR and held firm with his no penalty ruling. Following the match, he said that in fact Antonio Carlos pulled Gazdag's shirt first and commited the first foul, negating the penalty.

That ruling and the no call on the penalty have left a sour taste in the mouths of many around Orlando, an uncommon sight in this particular fan base.

Let's take a look at that play and decide for ourselves whether Chilowicz is in the right or Orlando was in fact screwed by PRO once again.

The unavoidable fact is that Gazdag definitely commits a foul on Antonio Carlos in the air. When AC is trying to attack the ball, Gazdag is holding like a bad NFL cornerback.

So this brings it down to the alleged foul by Antonio Carlos BEFORE Gazdag yanks him down in the air.

That screenshot, helpfully provided by Orlando play-by-play man Evan Weston, shows the alleged contact by the Brazilian center half. Weston argues it's legal hand placement and contact, and I agree.

AC is definitely making contact with Gazdag, but he doesn't appear to actually be grabbing or pushing the Hungarian. Watching the full clip, there doesn't appear to be a serious hold from Antonio Carlos before getting mugged on the jump.

The review process seemed fairly short in real time, with Chilowicz taking a few looks at the play before deciding to stick to his guns. On a quick glance, I could understand seeing AC's contact as a foul, but on closer look his contact was negligible, while Gazdag drags down the Orlando defender.

Usually I think the fanbase overreacts to missed calls by the referee and refereeing in general, but in this case I have to rule in favor of the Lions and the VAR and say this should of been a penalty and that's an unfortunate missed opportunity for Orlando City.