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Video replay plays a part in RSL’s wild 3-3 preseason draw in Portland

First Published      Last Updated Feb 10 2017 11:32 am

Portland, Ore. • Say this much about a frigid February preseason stop in the Rose City: It replicates as intimidating— and at times hectic — an atmosphere a club will face in Major League Soccer. And Thursday night's preseason match at Providence Park lived up to the usual billing.

Real Salt Lake's first match in Portland during its second stop in the 2017 preseason camp featured a wild first half with penalty kicks, a video-replay red card, fantastic free kick goal, a wrong offside ruling on a would-be goal and a goal-line clearance by a rookie center back.

And the second half was just as eventful. Three total goals in the second frame resulted in a wild 3-3 draw between RSL and the Timbers in downtown Portland Thursday evening. RSL remains unbeaten this preseason at 2-0-1.

For the second time this preseason, RSL was involved in a VAR (video assistant referee) review. And for RSL, it turned into scintillating free kick goal by Joao Plata. Referee Sorin Stoica stopped play after RSL forward Yura Movsisyan's long-range shot was saved by goalkeeper Jake Gleeson. Once Stoica went to the replay booth on the sideline, he later sent off Timbers midfielder Diego Chara for an elbow to the head of Movsisyan.

"I didn't really expect anything from the referee," Movsisyan said. "I was shocked as their player was. I think it was a late swing. I don't think he meant to go to my ear. I even told the ref, 'Listen, it's a preseason game, let's keep 11 players on the field. We don't need a red card. Let them take a substitute.' It's interesting. It just needs time to get used to this whole video pause."

RSL was also awarded a free kick, which Plata buried over the Portland wall, equalizing the score 1-1 in the 42nd minute. That came seven minutes after Portland took a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute due to Portland midfielder Diego Valeri cleaning up a kick-save by RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando. That handball came just seconds after RSL rookie center back Justin Schmidt recovered in time to clear what would've been a tap-in for new Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco.

Minutes after RSL knotted the score, Movsisyan was wrongly ruled offside on what would've been a goal to put RSL up 2-1. Instead, the offside flag was raised. Valeri later put the Timbers ahead 2-1, scoring from the penalty spot after Stoica whistled a hand ball on RSL midfielder Jordan Allen in the box.

"I think it could be positive if it's done the right way," Movsisyan said of the replay system set to be implemented in MLS this summer. "If we're doing video replay, then there should've been a replay on my goal. We just need to find consistency, and I know it's difficult for the refs."

RSL coach Jeff Cassar said defensively the team was a little too loose in the back for his liking, even this early in preseason.

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