Whitecaps FC end 2012 MLS regular season with draw at Real Salt Lake
Highlights: Real Salt Lake 0 - 0 Whitecaps FC
SANDY, UT - In their final match of the 2012 Major League Soccer regular season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (11W-13L-10D) earned a goalless draw at Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake (17W-11L-6D) on Saturday night.
On a cool and clear evening at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, there was little to separate these two clubs, despite chances created at both ends. Whitecaps FC will be pleased to have put in such a solid away performance ahead of their historic first game in the MLS Cup Playoffs at LA Galaxy on Thursday night.
Saturday’s result also secured the top seed in the 2013 Amway Canadian Championship for Whitecaps FC, as they finished one point ahead of next year’s second seed in MLS expansion club Montreal Impact in the 2012 MLS Supporters’ Shield standings.
A goalless first half saw Salt Lake with more of the possession, but Whitecaps FC showed a defensive resilience that will serve them well for next week’s playoff trip to Southern California.
RSL’s main threat was their top goalscorer Alvaro Saborio, who had three sights at goal before the break. The Costa Rican international’s best chance was on 38 minutes when he forced Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton into a good save with a point blank strike.
With speed in their attack, Vancouver kept their hosts honest with some good attacking moves. Richards was just off target with a shot from close range, while Mattocks earned two free kicks for ‘Budweiser Man of the Match’ Alain Rochat.
The Canadian-born Swiss international’s second set-piece was Whitecaps FC’s best chance before halftime, as RSL goalkeeper Kyle Reynish looked awkward in saving Rochat’s free kick on 37 minutes.
There was an second-half improvement in possession and attacking endeavour from the ‘Caps, who had the ball in the back of Salt Lake’s net on 57 minutes. However, Mattocks was adjudged to be in an offside position before leaping well to head in Rochat’s free kick at the far post.
Looking to strengthen their grip on second place in the Western Conference standings, RSL had their chances after the break, despite finding the Whitecaps FC defensive rearguard a real challenge to break down.
Knighton made assured saves from Luis Gil and former ‘Caps midfielder Jonny Steele, while Saborio and Fabian Espindola missed the target with close-range chances.
The final whistle from match referee Baldomero Toledo confirmed a share of the spoils in this third and final regular season contest between Vancouver and Salt Lake, with Whitecaps FC claiming their first clean sheet away from home since a 0-0 draw at Chivas USA on July 7.
Whitecaps FC will now turn their attentions to The Home Depot Center in Carson, California, and Thursday’s Western Conference First Round Knockout clash versus LA Galaxy in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Alain Rochat
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Shots: Salt Lake 17 - Vancouver 5
Shots on Goal: Salt Lake 3 - Vancouver 1
Saves: Salt Lake 1 - Vancouver 3
Fouls: Salt Lake 19 - Vancouver 8
Offsides: Salt Lake 1 - Vancouver 2
Corners: Salt Lake 6 - Vancouver 2
36' - RSL - Chris Wingert
45+2' - VAN - Jay DeMerit
82' - RSL - Will Johnson
Real Salt Lake
24.Kyle Reynish; 2.Tony Beltran, 3.Kwame Watson-Siriboe, 17.Chris Wingert, 29.Kenny Mansally (8.Will Johnson 78'); 5.Kyle Beckerman, 20.Ned Grabavoy (26.Sebastian Velasquez 63'), 22.Jonny Steele, 21.Luis Gil (25.David Viana 71'); 7.Fabian Espindola, 15.Alvaro Saborio
Substitutes not used: 18.Nick Rimando, 14.Yordany Alvarez, 19.Enzo Martinez, 23.Paulo Araujo Jr.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Brad Knighton; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 40.Andy O'Brien, 6.Jay DeMerit, 3.Jordan Harvey; 28.Gershon Koffie, 4.Alain Rochat, 11.John Thorrington, 16.Matt Watson; 20.Dane Richards (7.Kenny Miller 78'), 22.Darren Mattocks (14.Barry Robson 71')
Substitutes not used: 1.Joe Cannon, 15.Martin Bonjour, 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 31.Russell Teibert, 37.Camilo Sanvezzo