Playing their first-ever preseason training match as a Major League Soccer club on Tuesday, Vancouver Whitecaps FC defeated 2009 MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake 2-1 at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Arizona.
Goals by the Canadian duo of Russell Teibert and Terry Dunfield gave Teitur Thordarson's side a positive start to their schedule of preseason training games. El Salvador international Arturo Alvarez scored a consolation goal for the Utah-based outfit. Victory was also the second preseason result versus RSL at Grande Sports World. On February 20, 2010, Vancouver claimed a similar 2-1 result over Salt Lake as a USSF D-2 Pro League side.
"The win gives us a good starting point," Dunfield told whitecapsfc.com after Tuesday's game. "For the most part, I thought we competed very well, and there were a lot of positives to take from today's game. Real Salt Lake have some quick and clever players, so if you switch off at any point, they have the ability to hurt you, which is what they did for their goal. This season will be a big step up for most of us, but based on today's performance, it looks like we have a squad that can compete well in MLS."
With both sides keen to look at the many players they have in camp at present, the 'Caps and RSL agreed to a 135-minute match that was played in three periods of 45 minutes each. This allowed 25 members of the Blue and White squad some valuable game action versus an established MLS opponent. Goalkeeper Joe Cannon, centre back Jay DeMerit, midfielder John Thorrington, and trialist Ryan O'Leary all missed Tuesday's friendly contest through injury.
Vancouver strikers Atiba Harris and Davide Chiumiento had the honour of taking Whitecaps FC's first-ever kickoff as an MLS club, with Chiumiento soon having a role in the game's first goal. On 17 minutes, a nice pass from the Swiss international gave youngster Teibert the chance to find the back of the net, as he slipped his shot passed RSL goalkeeper Tim Melia for a 1-0 Vancouver lead.
The goal brought a spell of Whitecaps FC pressure, with former Rochester Rhinos keeper Melia needing to make saves from Teibert and Shea Salinas, while Atiba Harris was off-target with an effort before the end of the first 45-minute period.
Salt Lake then equalized four minutes after the first break. Alvarez combined with midfielder Ned Grabavoy before eluding the attentions of a 'Caps defender and beating goalkeeper Jay Nolly to make it 1-1.
However, that scoreline lasted until the 57th minute, as Dunfield scored the match winner when he converted Teibert's corner from inside RSL's six-yard box to make it 2-1.
Dunfield and RSL's Argentine striker Fabian Espindola traded further chances before the midway point of this extended match, with Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis changing is entire 'Red Team' line-up to his 'Blue Team' selection. Just before the second break, Brazilian striker Pablo Campos forced a clearance off the 'Caps goalline after rising to connect with a close-range header.
Having made several changes through the first 90 minutes of the game, the third 45-minute period saw Thordarson play the remainder of his substitutions, including United States U-20 international keeper Brian Sylvestre and 2011 MLS SuperDraft top pick Omar Salgado.
Despite their best efforts to level matters before the end, RSL's Collen Warner could only see his long-range shot sail high and over the Vancouver goal, while Campos forced a good save from Sylvestre with his turn and shot in the Whitecaps FC box on 112 minutes.
The final whistle confirmed a first win in preseason for the MLS new boys, with Thordarson's squad to continue with their current Arizona training camp until the middle of next week. This will include a training match versus MLS rivals Columbus Crew in Phoenix next Tuesday.
RSL, meanwhile, make their way home to Utah this evening and continue their preparations for their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal clash versus the Crew later this month.
17' - VAN - Russell Teibert (Davide Chiumiento)
49' - RSL - Arturo Alvarez (Ned Grabavoy)
57' - VAN - Terry Dunfield (Russell Teibert)
11' - RSL - Jamie Cunningham
13' - VAN - Terry Dunfield
22' - VAN - Shea Salinas
100' - VAN - Nizar Khalfan
128' - VAN - Omar Salgado
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Jay Nolly (24.Brian Sylvestre 90'); 4.Alain Rochat (19.Blake Wagner 45'), 34.Bilal Duckett (23.Long Tan 90'), 14.Greg Janicki (33.Michael Boxall 86'), 8.Wes Knight (25.Jonathan Leathers 68'); 12.Russell Teibert (36.Santiago Bedoya 68', 35.Joe Anderson 110'), 26.Gershon Koffie (32.Jeb Brovsky 68'), 7.Terry Dunfield (15.Philippe Davies 81'), 22.Shea Salinas (39.Cornelius Stewart 45', 17.Omar Salgado 104'); 28.Davide Chiumiento (29.Nizar Khalfan 68'), 9.Atiba Harris (3.Kyle Porter 52', 13.Lenny Hartmann 115')
Real Salt Lake
Red Team (1st - 68th minute): Tim Melia; Robbie Russell, Jamie Cunningham (Drew Cost 45'), Nat Borchers, John Gilkerson; Jean Alexandre, Luis Gil (Nick Love 45'), Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales; Arturo Alvarez, Fabian Espindola
Blue Team (68th - 135th minute): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Rauwshan McKenzie, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman, Collen Warner, Will Johnson, Andy Williams; Pablo Campos, Paulo Araujo Jr.