It's been a frustrating stretch for the Portland Timbers.
Already in the midst of an 0-2-1 run of form in games that all took place on their home field of Providence Park, Portland let two more home points slip through its grasp on Wednesday, conceding two late goals and settling for a 2-2 draw against the New England Revolution after holding a 2-0 lead in the 85th minute.
It's the last of those two goals that had Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese heated at his postgame press conference — a 97th-minute penalty kick by New England's Carles Gil that was awarded by referee Jair Marrufo following Video Review, with Marrufo ruling that Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala had yanked the jersey of Wilfried Zahibo and taken him down in his own box.
Savarese didn't necessarily dispute that it was a penalty. It's consistency that's at the root of his beef.
The Timbers felt that they had a similar penalty shout in the 76th minute of the contest, when forward Jeremy Ebobisse went down while attempting to get on the end of a corner kick after a jersey-tug maneuver by Revs defender Brandon Bye that Savarese contends was virtually identical to the one called on Mabiala at the end of the match.
“What do you think?" Savarese said. "I ask you. Tell me. You want to ask the [Timbers Army] what they think? What can I tell you? What can I tell you? Is it a [penalty kick] or not? What about [Jeremy Ebobisse]’s? What about [Ebobisse]’s? Different than that PK? Just saw it right now; it’s exactly the same. Why is one a PK and the other one, no?"
The Portland social media team, for their part, wrangled up a photo in an attempt to corroborate Savarese's point.
Unsurprisingly, Revs head coach Bruce Arena had a bit of a different perspective on the matter.
"As frustrated as our opponents are with the penalty kick at the end, it was a penalty kick," Arena told reporters after the match. "That's one of the times that I would say that the VAR did its job the right way. In all fairness to the referee, I know he took a lot of abuse at the end of the game, but he did his job the right way."