David Villa was sensationally sent off for punching an opponent in a friendly match – after the referee used video replays to review the incident.
The New York City FC striker had initially been shown a yellow card for the clash against Houston Dynamo.
But after a video review was called, the referee deemed the Spaniard’s conduct violent enough to change the card to a red.
— Sporx (@sporx) February 19, 2017
The 35-year-old World Cup winner – who had netted earlier in the match – was sent packing despite knowing that the replay technology was in use.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) February 19, 2017
Video Assisted Replay (VAR) is currently being trialled in the MLS pre-season and could be fully implemented in the second half of the regular season.
NYCFC ended up losing the Desert Diamond Cup match 3-1 in Tuscon, Arizona.
Patrick Vieira’s men will look to better last season’s finish by going one better than the quarter-final stage where they were thrashed by eventual finalists Toronto FC 7-0 on aggregate.
The Canadians won 2-0 north of the border before travelling to New York and securing a crushing 5-0 victory in Frank Lampard’s last ever professional football match.
Villa is heading into his fourth season in the States after making the switch from La Liga giants Atletico Madrid back in 2014.