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The refs were busy in an ugly first half between Orlando City and Real Salt Lake.

By The SI Staff
March 06, 2016

Orlando City and Real Salt Lake opened their MLS 2016 campaigns at the Citrus Bowl, where the referees played as big a role as the players in the opening 45 minutes. 

A pair of players were sent off, Orlando–playing without the injured Kaká–had a goal controversially allowed and RSL wound up taking the lead on a penalty in an eventful first half. 

Cyle Larin, who scored 17 goals to set an MLS rookie record in 2016, had a goal disallowed for offside, with the referee judging Brek Shea to have touched a ball through the area with Larin in an offside position.

That accompanied a pair of yellow-card challenges to RSL fullback Demar Phillips, who was sent off in the 20th minute. Orlando City's man advantage didn't last long. Darwin Ceren was sent off with a straight red for a shoulder to the face of Javier Morales.

Not like the man advantage was even all that fruitful. It was RSL that struck first with Seb Hines taking down Yura Movsisyan in the area and gifting a penalty to Joao Plata.

Hines also got away with this:

All in all, a busy afternoon for the officiating crew.

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