'Caps fall to Real Salt Lake on controversial first-half penalty

SANDY, UT – A first-half penalty kick resulting from a controversial whistle proved to be the difference on Saturday afternoon as Vancouver Whitecaps FC suffered a 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The eventual winner came off Albert Rusnák’s kick from the spot in the 21st minute after referee Drew Fischer awarded the home side a penalty when Corey Baird fell to the grass inside the box and drew the call.

It was a disappointing road result for the ‘Caps, who showed an improvement on their buildup from the season opener. Whitecaps FC forced Nick Rimando into five saves, but could not beat the RSL goalkeeper on the afternoon.

Prized midfielder Inbeom Hwang had a strong performance for the ‘Caps, getting off a pair of shots on goal and set up Andy Rose for another in the first half, and added a long-distance attempt that just missed the target late.

Centre back Doneil Henry, who scored his first goal for the ‘Caps last week, almost netted the equalizer in the 68th minute but his header went straight at Rimando. Lass Bangoura and Joaquín Ardaiz were productive and active off the bench as well but not enough to find the net.

WFC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau had a solid outing in net himself, collecting five saves, including two in the final minutes as Damir Kreilach and Rusnák looked to put the match away.

Whitecaps FC will look to earn their first points next week when they visit Houston Dynamo on Saturday, March 16 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Kickoff is live on CTV/TSN at 12 p.m. PT. The 'Caps are back home on Saturday, March 30 when they host Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC at BC Place. Visit whitecapsfc.com for ticket information.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: Whitecaps FC announced on Saturday the acquisition of left back Ali Adnan on loan until June 30. The Iraqi international, who most recently starred in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, is expected to arrive in Vancouver next week. He returns to his parent club Udinese Calcio of the Italian Serie A when the loan expires… Rose and Scott Sutter made their WFC debut on the afternoon. Rose got the start, and Sutter came on just before halftime to replace left back Victor “PC” Giro, who had to leave the match due to an eye injury.

MATCH DETAILS

WFC Man of the Match: Inbeom Hwang
Referee: Drew Fischer
Attendance: 17,096

Scoring Summary
21’ – RSL – Albert Rusnák (penalty kick)

Statistics
Possession: RSL 50.5% – VAN 49.5%
Shots: RSL 18 – VAN 16
Shots on Goal: RSL 6 – VAN 5
Saves: RSL 5 – VAN 5
Fouls: RSL 12 – VAN 10
Offsides: RSL 6 – VAN 0
Corners: RSL 4 – VAN 8
Duels won: RSL 45 – VAN 46
Tackles won: RSL 11 – VAN 10

Cautions
17’ – VAN – Yordy Reyna
41’ – RSL – Everton Luiz  

Real Salt Lake
18.Nick Rimando, 12.Brooks Lennon, 30.Marcelo Silva, 14.Nedum Onuoha, 22.Aaron Herrera; 5.Kyle Beckerman ©, 25.Everton Luiz; 7.Jefferson Savarino (23.Sebastián Saucedo 76’), 8.Damir Kreilach (13.Nick Besler 87’), 11.Albert Rusnák; 17.Corey Baird (50.Sam Johnson 65’)

Substitutes not used
51.Andrew Putna, 2.Tony Beltran, 21.Tate Schmitt, 43.Justin Portillo

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
16.Maxime Crépeau; 28.Jake Nerwinski, 22.Érik Godoy, 2.Doneil Henry, 94.Victor “PC” Giro (23.Scott Sutter 45’+2’); 15.Andy Rose, 6.Jon Erice © (9.Joaquín Ardaiz, 70’), 4.Inbeom Hwang; 7.Lucas Venuto (19.Lass Bangoura 61’), 12.Fredy Montero, 29.Yordy Reyna

Substitutes not used
18.Zac MacMath, 8.Felipe Martins, 13.Derek Cornelius, 31.Russell Teibert