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Bethany Balcer, OL Reign again take issue with NWSL refereeing

May 8, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Racing Louisville FC midfielder Freja Olofsson (8) leaps to head the ball over OL Reign forward Bethany Balcer (8) in the second half at Lumen Field. (Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports)

OL Reign tied Racing Louisville FC 2-2 on Sunday in a game that featured yet another questionable officiating call.

OL Reign’s Tziarra King notched her first professional brace to put her team up 2-1 before the half. In the second, an own goal was credited to forward Bethany Balcer on a corner kick.

Per NWSL rules the ball must cross the line fully in order to be considered a goal. Following the game, Balcer says she asked the sideline referee about the play.

“I calmly went up to the sideline ref and asked him how he thought the ball crossed the line when I was blocking him from it,” she wrote on Twitter. “He said, ‘I’m very tall,’ to which I said it was still wrong. His response: ‘Yes I might’ve been wrong, but it’s just a goal.’”

After the game, captain Lu Barnes called on the NWSL to implement VAR in order to help correct calls, though she said she was “probably going to get fined for this.”

OL Reign coach Laura Harvey remained mum on the subject.

“I can’t talk about it anymore because I’ll get fined,” said Harvey. “I’m just beyond it.”

It isn’t the first time that a call has not gone OL Reign’s way in the last week. In the team’s Challenge Cup semifinal match, a no-call on an apparent Washington Spirit handball helped send the game to penalties, and the Spirit came out on top. At the time, Harvey called the no-call “embarrassing.”

“I just cannot get over that you can say someone’s arm is next to their body when they’re literally doing the f—ing robot man,” she said. “You’re joking me.”

The Reign, still looking for their first win, next play the Portland Thorns on Friday, while Louisville will take on the Houston Dash on Saturday.