It’s not often that a referee is the first person to get subbed off in a soccer match, but that’s exactly what happened in the 33rd minute of the opening weekend game between Orlando City and NYCFC. The match official had to bring the action to a halt when he spotted his linesman, Kevin Kingler, down on one knee and signaling for a substitute. In the slo-mo replay, you can see the assistant referee mouth the words “I can’t go on” as he proceeds to do the finger twirl typically associated with subs.
In to replace Kingler was fourth official Malik Badawi. The Spanish broadcasters commended Kingler for his attempts at trying to keep things going, and speculated that the injury could have been much worse given that clouds had covered up the harsh sun that shined over Orlando prior to the game. They also noted that Orlando City coach James O’Connor went to referee Baldomero Toledo to confirm that there’d be time added on at the end of the half to reflect this stoppage. Because, you know, you’ve got to have your priorities in order.
The next substitution did not occur for either team until the 69th minute when Orlando City subbed in Dom Dwyer for Kyle Smith.