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Somewhere between the huffing and puffing over no-calls, between the gesticulations of frustration Mike Petke is bound to have each game toward a refereeing decision, he's vowed to add something to the match-day repertoire.

In conjunction with the future implementation of VAR (the video assistant referee initiative) after the MLS All-Star Game in late July, Real Salt Lake's coach said he'll tuck a red flag into dress socks.

Doubtful, but with Petke, you never know.

"I'm going to throw that out there," he joked. "I'm sure I'll get in trouble for that."

VAR is on its way to MLS, and soon.

The system, slated to be a full-go in early August, is in the offline testing phase around the league. It ran a pseudo-test Saturday night in RSL's 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium and again will be present yet offline in RSL's match at the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium.

According to Jeff Agoos, vice president of competition with MLS, each stadium and broadcast will be put through two tests before August to ensure that it's ready when the VAR is part of the equation. Change is coming for soccer, the last of the major sports to accept what has become a symbiotic relationship worldwide: Replay technology used to properly alter outcomes of matches.

"We feel very confident that we're going to do as much as we can to make sure that we're prepared and ready to go," Agoos said. "We know that there's always going to be some issues that come up. But we feel confident that through these testing opportunities, we can identify any gaps and address those and resolve those issues."

Agoos said MLS and PRO (the Professional Referee Organization) have trained upwards of 50 officials through the past 12 to 18 months on VAR protocol. The video assistant referee positioned in booths in stadiums across the league is in charge of reviewing plays and alerting the main official of any clear errors.

VAR only can be used for goals, straight red cards, penalty or no penalty decisions and mistaken identity in cases of fouls.

Once alerted by the VAR, the referee in the middle of the match blows his whistle and explains to players, coaches and fans that a play is set to be reviewed through the motion of making a box, simulating a TV monitor. Referee crews, Agoos said, are expected to increase from the normal four-man group to five with the VAR.

Agoos confirmed that the VAR reviewing plays will utilize all available camera feeds from both the home and away broadcasts in each match. The VAR, he added, will not have access to any other cameras outside the broadcasts.

At BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday night, the VAR will communicate calls to a surrogate referee to mimic how conversations would go with head officials when the replay technology is officially in use in August. Once part of the equation, the head official can discuss a replay with the VAR or choose to sprint toward the designated review area and watch the replay on a monitor.

"This is life," Petke said. "You have to adapt. I am an old-school guy with certain things, but there's nothing I can do, so you've got to roll with the times, pretty much."

VAR was used in MLS preseason matches in February and RSL saw first-hand on three different occasions how it would go. A penalty was reversed to a free kick outside the area after video review in RSL's preseason opener. RSL was awarded a penalty kick during a preseason match in Tucson, Ariz., after video review a week later.

Later in Portland, Timbers midfielder Diego Chara was shown a red card after review showed he elbowed RSL forward Yura Movsisyan in the preseason.

"It's interesting," Movsisyan said in preseason. "It just needs time to get used to this whole video pause. I think it could be positive if it's done the right way."

That's a big if for soccer players and purists.

One of the primary worries that coincides with this alteration is slowing down a game that often already is slowed too often due to fouls and communication issues between the head official and players. Toss in something this new and foreign midseason, and it could make for an interesting ride the last three months of 2017.

"In an ideal world," RSL defender Chris Wingert said, "it's just the official upstairs has the video, should take a look at it, it should take 10 seconds, 15 seconds, can call it right down and that should be it. I don't think it needs to be a play where they're stopping, going over to the sidelines and taking a look."

VAR already is being used in international soccer.

It's in use at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea, where four RSL first-teamers are into the knockout stage with the U.S. U-20 national team. The VAR has called down to the head official to review penalty decisions and red-card worthy fouls on several occasions so far. Agoos said it's expected to be part of this summer's Confederations Cup in Russia — a prelude tournament to next year's FIFA World Cup.

"The flow of a game is so important," Agoos said, "so the primary objective is to get critical decisions in key, match-changing situations correct without impacting the flow of the game. Can we do that? We hope so."

Petke's already thinking of how players will change their protests to referees. Instead of holding up one hand and simulating a yellow card or red card, the RSL coach thinks players around the league soon will imitate the box shape in hopes of a review.

"Nothing's going to be secret anymore," Petke said. "You're not going to be able to hide anything."

Twitter: @chriskamrani —

Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo

At BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas

Kickoff • 6:30 p.m. Wednesday


Radio • 700 AM

Records • RSL 4-8-2, Houston 6-5-2

Last meeting • Houston won 1-0 (Sept. 17, 2016 at Rio Tinto Stadium)

About RSL • Goalkeeper Nick Rimando will not be available Wednesday in Houston or Saturday at FC Dallas due to being called up for the U.S. men's national team for World Cup Qualifiers. … New forward Jefferson Savarino will be available in Houston but will join the Venezuelan national team for its friendly against the U.S. at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night. … Midfielder Kyle Beckerman returns from his one-game suspension. … Midfielder Sunday Stephen was voted to the MLS Team of the Week.

About Houston • With six wins in their first 13 matches, the Dynamo are just one win shy of matching their 2016 win total (7-14-13). … Houston forward Erick Torres is second in MLS with nine goals in 2017. … The Dynamo remain unbeaten at home at 6-0-1. … Offseason additions Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto have combined for nine goals. … Midfielder Alex leads the Dynamo with six assists. … Houston is coming off a 0-0 road draw at FC Dallas on Sunday night.

VAR on its way

• MLS' video assistant referee initiative is in the testing phase around the league as it prepares to be implemented in early August.

• Each stadium is going through two full-scale testing phases, mimicking how a VAR would go through the motions of communicating to the head official during actual game-changing replays.

• VAR only can be used for goals, straight red cards, penalty or no penalty decision and mistaken identity in cases of fouls.

• As many as 50 referees have been training the last 12 to 18 months in the VAR protocol.