CHESTER, Pa. - Everyone was confused.
In the 53rd minute of the Union's 1-0 with the New England Revolution on Saturday, Haris Medunjanin sprung Cory Burke on a clean breakaway. With daylight and multiple strides between him and the nearest defender, Burke tangled with goalkeeper Matt Turner before scoring.
Burke ripped off his jersey in celebration and rushed to the sideline unaware that the play was deemed offside the second he touched the ball.
"I saw that and thought he didn't even know what was going on," laughed Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.
But Burke had the last laugh. While he embarrassingly celebrated the negated effort, referee Drew Fischer held up play. He signalled that he would check VAR, MLS' replay system, which confirmed that Burke was indeed onside.
The goal stood.
"I didn't know what was going on behind me because I kept on going," said Burke. "I saw the goalie kept playing as well. I never knew that the linesman held up his flag and everyone stopped playing."
Fischer told a pool reporter that it's the ref's "discretion" that the play continue until "resolved," which is why he didn't stop play.
"The referee on that occasion got the play absolutely correct," admitted Revs coach Brad Friedel. "It's a difficult one because as the player hits it, the linesman puts his flag up. When he puts his flag up, all the players stop, including all their players except for Burke."
But that was just one part of the goal's fireworks. As Fischer deliberated, Medunjanin was at the Revs' sideline having a heated exchange with the coaching staff. The Revs man-marked the midfielder throughout the contest, which may have caused the initial frustration.
"I was a little bit mad because he was talking too much," Medunjanin said of Friedel. "That's why I reacted to him. It was a little emotional but I'm always trying to win and involve the crowd."
When the goal was called, Medunjanin yelled more, forcing Union captain Alejandro Bedoya to run over and intervene. Medunjanin then had a confrontation at midfield with the opposing players, then waved his arms to get the crowd involved. They obliged.
"Everyone was waiting for the decision and because the crowd was so quiet I heard Haris yelling at Brad Friedel and their bench," Bedoya said. "I tried to go over and calm him down. When the goal was awarded, pure emotion took over and Haris got the crowd going, which is what we want. It's our house so I'm glad the crowd got into it and helped push us through."
Union manager Jim Curtin tried the sum the entire scenario up.
"It felt like a 'WWF' moment, that's how it felt," he said. "You have a guy over here celebrating a goal, you have people confused, the 'DOOP' song didn't go off. There was confusion in the entire stadium. Haris is getting the crowd fired up; it was like organized chaos. It was certainly one of the strangest things I've seen. It was a wild one for sure."