SANDY, UT – On a warm night in Sandy, Utah, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-4L-3D) fell to a 2-0 defeat against Real Salt Lake (4W-4L-2D) at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Highlights: Real Salt Lake 2 - 0 Whitecaps FC
Despite having several opportunities, The Force was not with the 'Caps on International Star Wars Day.
Head coach Martin Rennie made six changes to his starting lineup that faced FC Edmonton this past Wednesday, with Joe Cannon, Young-Pyo Lee, Alain Rochat, Nigel Reo-Coker, Daigo Kobayashi and Corey Hertzog drawing in, and Brad Knighton, Greg Klazura, Jordan Harvey, Tommy Heinemann, Jun Marques Davidson, and Darren Mattocks coming out.
Just seven minutes in, Hertzog tried his luck with a long range strike as his shot deflected out for a corner kick, which went through the 18-yard box without being converted.
On 23 minutes, Real Salt Lake began to apply pressure, as midfielder Javier Morales set up two chances that were thwarted by 'Caps defender Andy O'Brien. Two minutes later, Chris Wingert provided a beautiful cross that could have been put into the net, but was again foiled by the 'Caps defensive work.
In the 35th minute, the Blue and White were nearly given the lead when a well-placed corner kick by Kobayashi ended up on the head of O'Brien, but his attempt went high and landed on top of the net.
Just three minutes later, on 38 minutes, an RSL corner kick ended up on the head of Chris Schuler, but his powerful header went just wide of the goal.
Despite chances for both teams in the first half, the match was scoreless at halftime, 0-0.
However, two minutes into the second half, on 47 minutes, RSL opened the scoring. From a goal kick, 'keeper Nick Rimando found striker Joao Plata streaking down the right. The diminuitive Ecuadorian then set up Luis Gil for a header that went past Cannon, off the post, and into the net to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
In the 59th minute, another chance for the away side presented itself when Camilo took his time with the ball inside the 18-yard box, but his eventual shot sailed just over the crossbar.
Just a minute later, Hertzog nearly gave the 'Caps an equalizer as he was sent in by Camilo and squeezed a shot through Rimando. Unfortunately for the 'Caps, as the ball rolled slowly towards the empty net, Nat Borchers managed to clear the ball just before it crossed the line.
The first substitution for the Blue and White came on 68 minutes, when Kekuta Manneh came on for Camilo. The move provided a spark, as the 'Caps appeared to be energized by the addition of the youngster.
The chances of a comeback took a major hit on 71 minutes. A defensive lapse allowed Plata to break free and set up Morales for a low finish to give the home side their second goal of the match.
The Blue and White had another chance on 75 minutes, as Mattocks, who had subbed in, made a nice run and pass to Manneh, but the rookie was unable to get his shot through the crowd of RSL defenders.
Despite continued intent, the 'Caps could not muster another comeback as the final whistle blew in a 2-0 defeat to their Western Conference rivals.
After the match, head coach Martin Rennie expressed disappointment with his team's performance.
Next up for the 'Caps is a return home as they host reigning MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy next Saturday, May 11 at BC Place. A limited number of tickets remain available at ticketmaster.ca/whitecapsfc.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Gershon Koffie
Referee: Juan Guzman
47' - RSL - Luis Gil (Joao Plata, Nick Rimando)
71' - RSL - Javier Morales (Joao Plata, Sebastien Velasquez)
Shots: Real Salt Lake - Vancouver
Shots on Goal: Real Salt Lake - Vancouver
Saves: Real Salt Lake - Vancouver
Fouls: Real Salt Lake - Vancouver
Offsides: Real Salt Lake - Vancouver
Corners: Real Salt Lake - Vancouver
18' - VAN - Nigel Reo-Coker
79' - RSL - Chris Wingert
87' - VAN - Gershon Koffie
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 40.Andy O'Brien, 16.Johnny Leveron, 4.Alain Rochat (29.Tom Heinemann 75'); 13.Nigel Reo-Coker ©, 28.Gershon Koffie; 14.Daigo Kobayashi, 7.Camilo (23.Kekuta Manneh 67'), 31.Russell Teibert; 26.Corey Hertzog (11.Darren Mattocks 74')
18.Brad Knighton, 2.Jordan Harvey, 19.Erik Hurtado, 27.Jun Marques Davidson
Real Salt Lake
18.Nick Rimando; 2.Tony Beltran, 6.Nat Borchers, 28.Chris Schuler, 17.Chris Wingert; 5.Kyle Beckerman, 21.Luis Gil (26.Sebastien Velasquez 54'), 11.Javier Morales, 20.Ned Grabavoy (23.Khari Stephenson 80'); 49.Devon Sandoval, 8.Joao Plata (16. Carlos Salcedo 89')
45.Josh Saunders, 7.Lovel Palmer, 13.Olmes Garcia, 29.Kenny Mansally