SANDY, UT – Juan Manuel Martinez scored in the second half to give Real Salt Lake (4W-0L-2D) a 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-4L-1D) on Saturday evening in Rio Tinto Stadium to remain as the only undefeated team in Major League Soccer.
Nick Rimando made four saves to record his second consecutive clean sheet for Salt Lake.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made wholesale changes to his attack from last week, inserting Cristian Techera, Nicolás Mezquida, Kekuta Manneh, and Octavio Rivero up front, and it almost paid dividends early.
Rivero started things off in the fifth minute but his breakaway attempt from the right side missed the far post by mere inches. Four minutes later, it was Techera’s turn from the centre of the box, but Rimando extended low to get his fingertips on the shot. Manneh was first to the rebound but Salt Lake defender Aaron Maund got there just in time to block the header.
Rivero continued to work, however. In the 29th minute, Mezquida found his fellow Uruguayan sprinting along the right side but Rimando was there again to deny Rivero.
Real Salt Lake’s best chance in the opening half came in the 42nd minute. After being stopped by Jordan Harvey on the right side of the box, Joao Plata set up Kyle Beckerman in the middle for a right-footed strike. His shot sailed over the crossbar, thanks partly to the defence of Matías Laba, who was back in the lineup after serving a one-match suspension last week, as the two sides headed to the intermission scoreless.
The ‘Caps would get a glorious opportunity in the 50th minute when they tried to capitalize off a Salt Lake turnover inside the Vancouver attacking half, but Rimando was again up to the task against Mezquida.
The missed opportunity seemed to shift the momentum to the home side as Real Salt Lake would press on the other end.
In the 55th minute, striker Yura Movsisyan found space on the right side of the six-yard box but Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted positioned himself well to force the shot to hit the near post.
The ‘Caps would not be as fortunate on Salt Lake’s next trip down. After dancing his way into the box, Plata fed Martinez to his left, who finished neatly inside of the far post.
Salt Lake looked to double their lead when Martinez maneuvered his way through a pair of ‘Caps players in the midfield with a crafty turn, then launched from distance but Ousted was alert to the 74th-minute threat. Shortly after, Plata appeared to have a point-blank look until centre back Tim Parker slid into the scene for the timely block.
On the other end, Manneh tried a pair of long distance attempts for a late equalizer, but it just was not the ‘Caps night, as Whitecaps FC suffered their second straight loss, and their first in their last seven meetings against Salt Lake.
Whitecaps FC now fly back to Vancouver for a two-match home stand, beginning on Saturday, April 23 when they host Western Conference rival FC Dallas. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT. Tickets are available here.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Tim Parker
Referee: Ismail Elfath
55’ – RSL – Juan Manuel Martinez (Joao Plata)
Shots: Salt Lake 13 - Vancouver 11
Shots on Goal: Salt Lake 4 - Vancouver 5
Saves: Salt Lake 4 - Vancouver 2
Fouls: Salt Lake 8 - Vancouver 14
Offsides: Salt Lake 1 - Vancouver 4
Corners: Salt Lake 4 - Vancouver 6
71’ – RSL – Kyle Beckerman
79’ – VAN – Kendall Waston
90’+2’ – VAN – Octavio Rivero
Real Salt Lake
18.Nick Rimando; 2.Tony Beltran, 15.Justen Glad, 21.Aaron Maund, 17.Demar Phillips; 5.Kyle Beckerman, 27.John Stertzer, 19.Luke Mulholland (70.Jordan Allen 75’); 10.Joao Plata, 14.Yura Movsisyan (49.Devon Sandoval 90‘), 7.Juan Manuel Martinez
Substitutes not used
24.Jeff Attinella, 4.Jámison Olave, 16.Chris Wingert, 25.Danilo Acosta, 80.Olmes García
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 8.Fraser Aird (19.Erik Hurtado 83‘), 4.Kendall Waston, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 17.Andrew Jacobson (9.Masato Kudo 78’), 15.Matías Laba; 13.Cristian Techera, 11.Nicolás Mezquida (7.Christian Bolaños 61’), 23.Kekuta Manneh; 29.Octavio Rivero
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 31.Russell Teibert, 44.Pa-Modou Kah