Gregg Berhalter criticizes Concacaf for lack of VAR during World Cup qualifiers

Lizzy Becherano
Gregg Berhalter during a United States Training Session
Gregg Berhalter during a United States Training Session / Omar Vega/Getty Images

United States men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter has criticized Concacaf over their decision to not include Video Assistant Refereeing in the octagonal round of 2022 World Cup qualifiers. 

Berhalter believes their decision to remove VAR from this phase of the qualifiers is a grave mistake, especially after it proved vital during the organization’s summer tournaments. 

“That's an error. I think it's an error by Concacaf, I’ll just freely say that because that's part of the game,” said the coach. “VAR, I think it was great that they implemented it in Nations League and Gold Cup, and it's disappointing that it's not part of qualifying. That's where the modern game is going.

“We want to be right up there with the rest of the world, our region, in terms of the quality and technology. And we need to find a way to get that done. So I'll say that's disappointing. But it's also going to be no VAR for all the teams involved. So we'll deal with it, and we'll get on with it.”

The decision comes after VAR played a vital role in the Gold Cup final, where a Mexico goal was eventually disqualified after video review and the USMNT earned the game-winning penalty kick via a video assistant referee decision. 

Gregg Berhalter maintained a cautious attitude when addressing the media ahead of the kick off match on Thursday, candidly expressing his Concacaf concerns and explaining last minute roster decisions. 

The American side has faced their fair share of problems leading up to the matches as Christian Pulisic and first choice goalkeeper Zach Steffen remained grounded in Nashville as the team travelled to their first match in Central America.

The United States will take part in three qualifiers during the octagonal round against El Salvador, Honduras and Canada.