SANDY, UT - Vancouver Whitecaps FC Reserves (3W-1L-3D) were defeated for the first time in their 2013 MLS Reserve League campaign on Tuesday, falling 3-2 in heartbreaking fashion to Real Salt Lake Reserves (4W-3L-3D) in Sandy, Utah.
The ‘Caps got off to an encouraging start with goals from Whitecaps FC Residency product Kevin Cobby and MLS rookie Kekutah Manneh putting the Blue and White up 2-0. However, RSL came back and snatched the three points from Vancouver by virtue of three goals in the final 30 minutes of the match.
Riding off the momentum of their 4-0 thrashing of Seattle Sounders FC Reserves, the ‘Caps drew first blood in the sixth minute when Cobby converted Manneh’s corner with a thumping header into the top right corner.
Vancouver had a probing chance to make it 2-0 later in the half, however the opportunity was thwarted by a quality tackle from Lovel Palmer in his own box.
On 55 minutes, the ‘Caps did double their lead when Tommy Heinemann played Manneh into the box before the young Gambian cleverly dribbled around RSL goalkeeper Lalo Martinez. Keeping his composure, Manneh then slotted the ball into the back of the net from an acute angle.
It was Manneh’s second goal in three days, having scored Vancouver’s third goal in Sunday's MLS victory over Chicago Fire.
Momentum began to shift on 64 minutes when Salt Lake's Sebastian Velasquez scored after his left-footed strike deflected off a 'Caps defender and beat keeper David Ousted.
The home team found their equalizer on 84 minutes when Benji Lopez pounced on a loose ball after a scramble occurred in Vancouver’s box to level the score at 2-2.
The comeback was completed with only a minute left to play as RSL second-half substitute Paul Pineda finished a pass from Velasquez to put the home side in front, 3-2.
The ‘Caps had an opportunity of their own to draw even when they earned a free kick just on the edge of the box in the dying moments, but Erik Hurtado’s attempt was deflected wide, preserving the win for RSL.
Whitecaps FC assistant coach Carl Robinson was in charge for the match and felt that allowing Salt Lake to score their first goal was the turning point of the match.
“It was a deflected goal, which is unfortunate, and it gave them the momentum they needed,” said Robinson. “Obviously we never like to concede two goals in seven minutes like that.”
Next up for the ‘Caps is a home match on July 23 at UBC Thunderbird Stadium vs. United Soccer Leagues (USL) PRO side Richmond Kickers, that match is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. PT.
Fouls: RSL 9 - 9 VAN
Shots: RSL 15 - 8 VAN
Shots on Goal: RSL 5 - 4 VAN
Saves: RSL 2 - 2 VAN
Corners: RSL 4 - 5 VAN
Offside: RSL 0 - 1 VAN
2' - VAN – Kekuta Manneh (Yellow; Foul)
55' - VAN – Aminu Abdallah (Yellow; Persistent Infringement)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Reserves: 22.David Ousted; 32.Greg Klazura, 33.Colin Falvey, 41.Kevin Cobby, 37.Emmanuel Adjety; 36.Bryce Alderson, 8.Matt Watson, 20.Aminu Abdallah (42. Alejandro Sucre 86’); 19.Erik Hurtado, 29.Tommy Heinemann (38. Josh Patterson 79’), 23.Kekuta Manneh
Real Salt Lake Reserves: 1.Lalo Fernandez; 7.Lovel Palmer (42. Paul Pineda 46’), 4.Aaron Maund, 17.Chris Wingert, Jordan Allen (43. Jon Zabasajja 77’); 19.Enzo Martinez, 12.Cole Grossman, 23.Khari Stephenson (22. David Viana 46’); 13.Olmes Garcia (46. Benji Lopez 46’), 8.Joao Plata (26. Sebastian Velasquez 46’); 49.Devon Sandoval