The big news heading into this match-up were Joao Plata, Javier Morales, and Sebastian Jaime returning. With all three players coming back from injury at the same time, it would hopefully help the team’s offense which has struggled lately.
Vancouver started the game off with a quick tempo; looking to build an early attack every time they had possession. It was an aggressive approach by Carl Robinson who wanted to put Real Salt Lake into the defensive, the early results had to please him.
A free kick had been awarded to Vancouver after a foul from Abdoulie Mansally in the 4th minute. However the opportunity was wasted as Octavio Rivero’s header would miss wide. While it wasn’t a goal they were able to create a scoring chance — this would be just one of many that would follow.
Fast forward to the 24th minute and all of the hard work of playing an all-out attack almost paid off. There were five previous attempts, three off target and two on target, that had taken place. The sixth attempt by Gershon Koffie would hit the crossbar. Octavio Rivero delivered a cross to Koffie, who was in the center of the box, and almost had the Caps leading 1-0.
Vancouver’s persistence pays off:May 30, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Gershon Koffie (28) celebrates his goal against Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (18) (not pictured) during the first half at BC Place. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
By now, Vancouver was in control of the match while Real Salt Lake were just trying to hold on and not concede — playing a defensive game up to this point. They had taken only one shot, in the 12th minute when Abdoulie Mansally’s shot was blocked.
When it reached the 36th minute Koffie, who was making his 100th MLS appearance, found the back of the net about 25-yards out.
Vancouver – 1 | Real Salt Lake – 0
Despite conceding a goal, RSL started to respond well and began to consistently get possession of the ball. The possession stats started to slowly drift into the middle, becoming more balanced between the two teams. With half-time approaching, Devon Sandoval would be fouled by Pa Modou Kah to set up a great spot for a free kick; about the same range as Gershon Koffie when he scored.
Javier Morales lined up to take the free kick and scored at the brink of half-time in the 45th minute to equalize. The game would be level heading into the break.
Vancouver – 1 | Real Salt Lake – 1
HALF-TIME: Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 1 | Real Salt Lake -1
Ending the first half, RSL would be out-shot 12-5 meaning something had to change if the Royals were going to get a win. Lo and behold, when the second half got underway, Real Salt Lake came out attacking, applying pressure on Vancouver.
The game was flipped, Carl Robinson’s team looked as if they were playing defensively whereas Jeff Cassar seemed to have instructed his team to go out and attack. RSL looked to be playing the counterattack very well; whenever Vancouver got possession it would lead to a turnover and a scoring chance for the Royals.
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The shots started to become even and now the game intensified. It would be a struggle as both teams went back and forth with possessions, turnovers, fouls, offsides, clearing the ball and injuries.
Around the 70th minute mark the Caps would be awarded corners. Multiple corners in succession from the 71st minute until the 76th minute — 8 corners in total . They were relentless and by the 79th minute a break happened.
Christian Techera’s attempt from the center of the box was saved by Elias Vasquez.
What proceeded to happen would be the defining moment of this match. Up to this point, both teams found ways to dominate one half — first half by Vancouver and second half by Real Salt Lake.
After Vasquez saved Techera’s shot a miscommunication ensued with Nick Rimando.
Instead of clearing it Vasquez opted to pass to Rimando who probably wasn’t expecting it; Techera spotted the mistake, stole the ball and easily scored.
Vancouver – 2 | Real Salt Lake – 1May 30, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Cristian Techera (13) celebrates his goal against Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (18)(not pictured) during the second half at BC Place. The Vancouver Whitecaps won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
From there the Whitecaps just had to kill time until the final whistle blew. RSL would sub in Álvaro Saborio at the 84th minute and tried to equalize one more time.
Four minutes were added and in the 94th minute Saborio’s shot would be off target but just a bit, going to the right.
A few moments later and the game was over.
Vancouver – 2 | Real Salt Lake – 1
Even though Real Salt Lake would lose the closing minutes of the game were very close, it could’ve ended in a draw. With the win, Vancouver is in 2nd place behind the Seattle Sounders. As for Real Salt Lake, their loss drops them to 8th place, behind the Houston Dynamo.
Real Salt Lake’s next game is against the Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 7th 3:00 PM MT.