Anton Tinnerholm has a way with people. The Swede is easy-going, approachable and enjoys the humorous observations of life.
So perhaps his personality provides an advantage when approaching referees during matches. For the second time this season, Tinnerholm’s appeal of a handball in the area resulted in a decision to review the play, which led to a penalty kick verdict.
In a prescribed play off a corner Sunday during NYCFC’s game against LAFC, Tinnerholm hit a full volley that skipped off the grass surface at Banc of California Stadium and into the extended arm of Eduard Atuesta. Center referee Chris Penso missed the infraction but then pointed to the penalty spot after Tinnerholm’s urging and his own lengthy look of the replay.
David Villa’s penalty was saved by Tyler Miller, but Villa headed home the rebound to level the match at 1-1 (it ended in a 2-2 draw).
Against FC Dallas two weeks ago, Tinnerholm’s left-footed strike in the penalty area was handled by Reto Ziegler, who turned his back on the play. Referee Ismail Elfath failed to recognize the infraction but Tinnerholm was adamant and persuaded Elfath to put a call into Video Assistant Referee Jorge Gonzalez. The review was indisputable and Villa scored his landmark 400th goal from the spot in a 3-1 victory for NYCFC.
“You should trust the Swedes,” Tinnerholm said with a guffaw. “You can trust them.”
With confirmation on a pair of appeals this season, Tinnerholm expressed his delight with the review process.
“I love it,” Tinnerholm said with a wide smile. “A couple of friends back in Sweden were wondering what I’m saying about VAR. I’m telling them its amazing – it’s the best. David is thanking me as well.”
The corner-kick deliveries from Maxi Moralez have not been plays of chance. Tinnerholm, with two finishes off the volley this season, is clearly an option.
“No, of course we train it,” Tinnerholm said. “It’s good work from the blockers inside the box – the main thing that can make me be that free. When I get that kind of time on the ball it’s going to be dangerous.”
A warning to corner kick defenders to keep their arms clamped by their side or Tinnerholm’s persuasive charm could alter the match.