On Wednesday in Los Angeles, Minnesota United tied a game that felt more like a victory after it scored late in second-half stoppage time.
On Saturday at a neutral-site in Salt Lake City, the Loons tied another game. But this 2-2 draw felt more like a loss after Vancouver scored on a disputed penalty kick awarded in stoppage time's fourth minute.
After he watched video replays of the penalty called against Ethan Finlay in the 6-yard box, bitter Loons coach Adrian Heath criticized referee Lukasz Szpala and a video review that upheld his on-field call.
Heath termed it a "really poor decision" that shouldn't have surprised Heath "because he made them most of the evening."
"So he's not had a good night," Heath said. "You're not going to change it now. It's a disappointment. It feels like a defeat, but it's not. You've heard me say it a million times: A point on the road is never a bad result. Sure, we wanted the three when you're so close. Everybody is incredibly disappointed."
Finlay called himself and his teammates "gutted" over the outcome.
The Loons now have lost once in 12 games (6-1-5) after they took seven points from home victories over Western Conference rivals Seattle and Portland and tied Los Angeles FC in L.A. on Hassani Dotson's goal deep into second-half stoppage time.
Vancouver, playing its final "home" game in Real Salt Lake's stadium because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has won once in its past 12 games.
But Saturday's game ended all even after Whitecaps star Cristian Dajome scored both the game's first and final goals.
His 36th-minute goal following a footrace to the net came after the Loons' defensive back line, missing starters Michael Boxall and Chase Gasper, turned the ball over deep in its own end, sending Dajome off on his long run.
"We gave it away cheaply, didn't we?" Heath asked.
Dajome scored the last one after both he and Finlay ended up on the turf in pursuit of a ball that neither touched as time wound down.
Upon further review, Heath termed it "the kid threw himself into Ethan and the refs fell for it."
In between Dajome's goals, Finlay scored the Loons' first goal himself just before halftime. Attacker Robin Lod scored his fifth goal this season in the 75th minute. He did so after teammate Emanuel Reynoso intercepted a pass at midfield. Reynoso immediately with a pass ahead found Lod in position to score on a left-footed shot curled around goalkeeper Thomas Hasal.
The Loons' 2-1 lead lasted almost 20 minutes, until Dajome was awarded the penalty kick.He stutter-stepped toward the ball, getting Loons keeper Tyler Miller to commit one way. So Dajome shot the other.
After he lived it and watched the replay, Finlay noted the ball the Whitecaps played into the penalty box hit him in the chest and Dajome never touched or had possession of it.
"I felt it was more like a lunge into me," Finlay said.
He said he tried to run "gingerly" alongside Dajome as each pursued the ball because "you know in those moments, refs are looking to make calls."
Szpala did make one, but both Heath and Finlay were mystified he didn't review the video himself.
"He needs to go look at that," Finlay said. "That's too big a moment for him to not go look and make sure what he saw live is the same thing he saw [on video review]."
Finlay called for "transparency" with such decisions so fans, players, coaches and media can see them reviewed in real time.
"Everybody should want to know," Finlay said. "We'll look back in three months' time right now and these two points could be the difference between hosting a playoff game or not. That's the reality. … Unfortunately, they can explain it, but it won't give the points back.
"That's why I'm gutted and why this team is gutted. That was 92 minutes of busting our butts, and it was stolen from us tonight."