SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (4-4-2, 14 points, T-2 in West) closed out its three-game home stand in style on Saturday night, getting second half goals from MF’s Luis Gil and Javier Morales to beat Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2-4-3, 9 points, #8 in West) 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Gil gave RSL the lead in the 47th minute, finishing off a textbook counterattack that began with a goal kick from Claret-and-Cobalt GK Nick Rimando. Morales doubled RSL’s lead in the 71st, putting the exclamation mark on a nice buildup with a slotted finish from 12 yards out. FW Joao Plata assisted on both plays, giving him four helpers on the season, the most in MLS.
Real Salt Lake controlled the match from the start, setting the tempo and controlling possession throughout the first 45 minutes. The Utah side couldn’t quite pick out the final ball, however, and struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities in the opening frame.
RSL’s best first half chance came in the 39th minute, when DF Chris Schuler nodded a Morales corner kick just wide of the far post from six yards out in the left side of the area.
Oddly enough considering its first half possession advantage, RSL’s opener came on a counterattack. Rimando started the play, rifling a goal kick to Plata on the right side. The Ecuadorian attacker collected the ball and took one touch before curling an inch-perfect cross to Gil in the middle. The U.S. Under-20 international did the rest, padding his header past onrushing Vancouver GK Joe Cannon, off of the right post and into the back of the net.
Unfortunately, Gil suffered a right ankle contusion on the play and had to be taken off due to the injury seven minutes later.
Vancouver livened up a bit after falling behind, holding more of the ball and creating a couple of decent looks at an equalizer.
Whitecaps FC’s first good look came in the 59th minute, FW Camilo curled a teasing effort just over the bar after picking up a loose corner kick 15 yards out. Vancouver had an even better opportunity in the 62nd minute. FW Corey Hertzog ran onto a long ball behind the RSL defense on the right side and beat Rimando with a shot from six yards only for RSL DF Nat Borchers to slide in and heroically clear the ball off the line.
Morales doubled RSL’s lead in the 72nd minute. The Argentine playmaker started the play, chipping a ball from the center circle to substitute MF Sebastian Velasquez on the right side. Velasquez cut in and played a fine left-footed pass to Plata on the right side, allowing the diminutive attacker to square a ball to Morales for a slotted finish from just to the right of the penalty spot.
Real Salt Lake saw out the rest of the match with relative ease. The Claret-and-Cobalt will play two games at Eastern Conference opponents next week, taking on the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, May 8 before heading north of the border to take on the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo on Saturday, May 11.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 2-0 VAN
- RSL DF Carlos Salcedo made his full professional debut on Saturday night, coming on for Plata in the 90th minute of the Claret-and-Cobalt’s win. The 19-year-old Salcedo is the first RSL-Arizona Academy graduate to make a MLS appearance for the RSL first team.
- RSL FW Joao Plata assisted on both of RSL’s goals on Saturday night, moving him into first in MLS with four assists on the year. Plata’s other assists came in RSL’s season opening 2-0 win at San Jose on March 3 and in the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 1-1 tie in the home opener against the Colorado Rapids on March 16.
- RSL GK Nick Rimando was credited with an assist on RSL’s opening goal. The assist was the seventh of Rimando’s MLS career and his fourth game-winning helper. Saturday’s assist was Rimando’s second in a game in which he also kept a clean sheet, with the first such effort coming in RSL’s 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC on Aug. 8, 2009.
- RSL DF Chris Wingert started and played 90 minutes on Saturday night. It was Wingert’s first MLS appearance of the season; the veteran left back missed RSL’s first seven games while recovering from a right foot fracture suffered in December and did not play in either of the Claret-and-Cobalt’s previous two matches.
- Saturday’s starting forward pairing of Plata and rookie FW Devon Sandoval is the eight different starting striker duo RSL has used in 10 games this season. The Plata-Sandoval pair was the seventh different strike combination used by RSL in its last seven games.
REAL SALT LAKE 2-0 VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
SATURDAY, MAY 4, 2013
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 2 2
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 0 0
RSL – Luis Gil (Joao Plata, Nick Rimando) - 47’
RSL – Javier Morales (Joao Plata, Sebastian Velasquez) – 71’
VAN – Nigel Reo-Coker (Yellow; Foul) – 19’
RSL – Chris Wingert (Yellow; Foul) – 79’
VAN – Gershon Koffie (Yellow; Foul) – 87’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2) – Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C) ; Ned Grabavoy (Khari Stephenson, 80’), Luis Gil (Sebastian Velasquez, 54’); Javier Morales; Joao Plata (Carlos Salcedo, 89’), Devon Sandoval
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Saunders (GK), Olmes Garcia, Abdoulie Mansally, Lovel Palmer
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4-2-3-1) – Joe Cannon; Y.P. Lee, Andy O’Brien, Johnny Leveron, Alain Rochat (Tommy Heinemann, 75’); Gershon Koffie, Nigel Reo-Coker (C); Daigo Kobayashi, Camilo (Kekuta Manneh, 67’), Russell Teibert; Corey Hertzog (Darren Mattocks, 74’)
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton (GK), Jun Marques Davidson, Jordan Harvey, Erik Hurtado
Referee: Juan Guzman
Referee's Assistants: Matthew Kreitzer, Kevin Klinger
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Cloudy and 66 degrees