VIDEO: VAR denies Houston crucial penalty in first-leg draw

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Thomas Shea
The Dynamo settled for a 0-0 draw with the Portland Timbers after seeing a penalty taken back after video review

The Portland Timbers return to Providence Park knowing a victory will secure a spot in the Western Conference final thanks to their 0-0 draw against the Houston Dynamo on Monday — as well as an assist from the video assistant referee.

While the Dynamo had to settle for the home stalemate in the West semifinal first leg, Wilmer Cabrera's side found itself with a golden opportunity when Alberth Elis earned a penalty midway through the first half.

Larrys Mabiala Alberth Elis Portland Timbers Houston Dynamo

As Elis took aim at goal from 8 yards out, Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala intervened with a last-ditch tackle. Initially, it was ruled that Mabalia committed the foul. But after consulting with the video assistant referee and taking a look at replay himself, referee Robert Sibiga decided that Mabiala prodded the ball away cleanly.

It proved to be the closest either team came to scoring, with the series up in the air entering Sunday's second leg in Portland.

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