VANCOUVER – Real Salt Lake (3-4-1) saw a strong effort go for naught Friday night at BC Place as they were dominated by the Vancouver Whitecaps in the final 20 minutes in a 2-0 loss. Christian Techera and Anthony Blondell notched the goals for the host side in the victory. With the win, Vancouver (4-4-1) snapped a three game losing streak while the Claret-and-Cobalt’s bumpy start to the season continued as they have yet to string together back-to-back matches with results.
RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was upbeat about the team’s efforts despite the loss and pointed out a critical data point that will bear watching going forward.
“I thought we played really well, we can keep our heads up with this loss. We just can’t keep giving up those penalties, every time we give up a penalty this year we’ve lost the game. All in all, I thought the performance, in an away game, in the circumstances that we were in, I thought we played well. If we continue to play that way, we will be going in the right direction,” He said.
The first half featured a lively back-and-forth from both sides with multiple chances created and shots firing from all over the field. RSL centerback Justen Glad came to aid of Nick Rimando in the 15th minute when his stellar tackle thwarted what appeared to be a chance on an open net for Anthony Blondell:
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) April 28, 2018
Kyle Beckerman saw a long rage looping attempt go just wide in the 20th minute that had RSL forward Corey Baird had the best chance of the first half for the visitors come in the 23rd minute when his blast off a set up from Damir Kreilach rocked the crossbar:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 28, 2018
The half continued to play out as Vancouver generated looks but were unable to place a shot on frame in the opening half. RSL saw another quality look go begging just before the halftime whistle when Joao Plata rocketed a shot that was tipped over the crossbar by Vancouver goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic to ensure the nil-nil draw would carry on until the second half.
Vancouver began to find their stride as they began to relentlessly attack the RSL backline, which averaged 21 years of age in the match, and it paid off. Brek Shea got loose down the left flank multiple times and threw in repeated crosses but Nick Rimando and the RSL backline were equal to the challenge. RSL’s undoing came in the 74th minute when Nick Besler was judged to have taken down Nicolas Mezquida in the box and Vancouver was awarded a penalty.
Besler explained his perspective on the penalty after the match, saying “They sent in a cross, I took a little heavy touch. Personally, I thought I nicked the ball and he ran through me. They called a penalty and didn’t take a look at it, that’s what they thought, and that’s how it goes sometimes. Sometimes you just don’t get the call.”
Diminutive Whitecaps forward Christian Techera got Rimando to go the wrong way on the PK and put the hosts up 1-0. He was sent off second later after removing his jersey amidst his celebration. He had received a yellow card earlier in the match for knocking Rimando down on a loose ball. RSL sought to use the man advantage in final quarter hour but Alphonso Davies had other ideas:
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) April 28, 2018
RSL was unable to generate many quality chances with the remaining time and six-plus minutes of extra time and ended up falling short in their quest to string together positive results in consecutive matches.
Despite coming up on the shirt end, Mike Petke came away pleased with his team.
“It’s a cruel sport sometimes…But I’m very happy and proud with the way my team played for three-quarters of the game. But at the end of the day we didn’t put the ball in the net.”
Real Salt Lake will be back on the road next week as they continue to a four of five road stretch at Orlando City SC Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. David James and Brian Dunseth will be on the call on KMYU, the KSL TV App or KSL.com.