SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (3-0-5, 14 points, West #3) remained unbeaten on the 2014 season on Saturday night, getting early strikes from FW’s Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio before allowing two late goals to draw Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2-2-4, 10 points, West #5) 2-2 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake stormed out to an early 2-0 lead, with Plata scoring in the second minute and Saborio tallying in the ninth to put the Claret-and-Cobalt ahead. RSL held the 2-0 edge for most of the rest of the game, but conceded twice in the final stages, first in the 86th and again in the final minute of stoppage time to draw Vancouver 2-2.
Plata put RSL on top just 112 seconds into the match. RSL DF Chris Wingert started the play, playing a ball down the left side to Claret-and-Cobalt MF Luke Mulholland. Mulholland dummied the pass, which took a slight deflection off a Vancouver defender before Plata stepped to it just outside the area. The dynamic attacker quickly dribbled into the left side of the area, finding space away from his marker before firing a low left-footer past diving Vancouver GK David Ousted and inside the far post.
Saborio doubled RSL’s lead with a gorgeous ninth-minute goal. The buildup to the strike was fantastic, with MF Javier Morales starting the move with a delicate chipped pass to Mulholland on the right wing. The Englishman neatly flicked a header down the line to DF Tony Beltran, who quickly hit a low cross to the top of the area. MF Ned Grabavoy collected the ball, keeping close control to slither by several ‘Caps defenders before playing a pass through the legs of a Vancouver player to Saborio in the left side of the area. The Costa Rican international hit the ball with his first touch, deliciously curling his 12-yard left-footer into the top-left corner.
RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman nearly made it 3-0 in the 16th and 22nd minutes. The first chance came off of a set play, with Morales rolling a free kick from just outside the right edge of the area to the top of the box, where Beckerman ran onto it and side-footed a shot on frame that Ousted held. He threatened more on the second look, running onto a Plata layoff on the left side and curling a 25-yarder with the outside of his right foot inches wide of the far post.
Saborio almost bagged a second in the 35th, heading a Plata cross from the left post past Ousted but cleared off the line by ‘Caps DF Johnny Leveron.
Rimando made his only save of the half in the 36th minute. Vancouver MF Russell Teibert curled a cross from the right wing to DF Jordan Harvey at the back post, with Harvey rising over Plata and heading the shot on frame. The effort wasn’t too much trouble for Rimando, who slid to his left and palmed the chance over the bar.
Plata had a golden opportunity to make it 3-0 in first half stoppage time. Grabavoy collected a Morales pass just outside the arc and sprung Plata free with a through ball to the right side. Plata ran onto it for a 1-v-1 with Ousted, but couldn’t quite take advantage hitting his shot off of the onrushing ‘keeper after taking a somewhat heavy first touch.
The second half started rather slowly, with RSL absorbing some pressure from an improved Vancouver side. Neither team had a chance until the 69th minute, when Vancouver substitute FW Erik Hurtado meekly headed substitute MF Nicolas Mezquida’s corner kick from the top of the six on frame for another Rimando save.
Saborio came inches away from registering his second brace of the season in the 80th minute. Morales delivered a curling set piece into the box from the right wing, with Saborio aggressively running onto the ball at the top of the six. The veteran striker flicked a header toward the far post, with Ousted just barely getting a finger to the shot to tip it off the crossbar. The rebound nearly inched across the goal line, flashing down off the line and then off the post before sneaking out of danger.
Mezquida clawed Vancouver back into the game in the 86th minute. ‘Caps FW Darren Mattocks collected a cleared corner kick outside the box on the left side, jetting into the area and firing a shot that Rimando saved, but couldn’t hold. Mezquida – who replays indicated may have been offside – pounced on the rebound, running into the six and flicking home from close-range.
Vancouver managed to find an equalizer in the last minute of stoppage time. With only seconds left in the match, Vancouver sub MF Sebastian Fernandez pounced on an RSL turnover at the center circle and managed to get off a 35-yard rocket that snuck past Rimando into bottom right corner to make things level.
Real Salt Lake will hit the road for its next match, taking on Chicago Fire at Toyota Park at 6:30 p.m. MT next Saturday. The RSL-Fire contest will be broadcast live on CW30, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 2–2 VAN
- With tonight’s draw, Real Salt Lake remains the only undefeated team in MLS, now posting a 3-0-5 record in its first eight matches. RSL also remains undefeated at home in 2014, recording a 2-0-2 record in Utah.
- Real Salt Lake’s eight-game unbeaten run to start the season is a club record, though the team had more points through eight games in both 2011 (5-1-2, 17 points) and 2012 (5-3-0, 15 points). The Claret-and-Cobalt is currently on a 12-game regular season unbeaten streak, a run that dates back to last September’s win at Vancouver. That 12-game streak is the second-longest regular season unbeaten streak in club history, second only to RSL’s 18-game regular season unbeaten run compiled from July 2010-April 2011.
- With his eight-game unbeaten start in 2014, RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar now claims the longest unbeaten run to start a managerial career in MLS’s non-shootout era.
- Tonight’s match between Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC was their first meeting of the 2014 MLS regular season. RSL continues its unbeaten run against Vancouver, extending it to five games. RSL now posts a 4-2-3 all-time record against the Cascadia side and remains unbeaten against the ‘Caps in Utah with a 3-0-2 all-time record at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- RSL FW Joao Plata made a return to the starting lineup tonight, his first start since suffering a hamstring injury in RSL’s home opener against LA Galaxy on March 22. Plata continued his great form, registering his third goal of 2014 in the second minute of the match. Plata recorded two goals and two assists in RSL’s first three matches of the season before getting injured.
- RSL FW Alvaro Saborio notched RSL’s second goal of the evening in the ninth minute of play, his fourth of the 2014 season. The Costa Rican international now has 72 goals in 123 appearances across all competitions for the Claret-and-Cobalt.
- RSL’s concession of two late goals prevented RSL GK Nick Rimando from tying the MLS all-time shutout record. Retired GK Kevin Hartman solely retains the record with 112 clean sheets.
- With tonight’s start, RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman moved into ninth place in MLS history with 333 regular season games played. Beckerman is seventh in MLS history with 303 career regular season starts, one shy of tying retired MF Chris Henderson for sixth-place all-time. Beckerman also sits in seventh-place in MLS history with 27,273 regular season minutes played, 90 minutes behind current New England Revolution Head Coach Jay Heaps.
- RSL MF John Stertzer made his first 2014 appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt tonight, subbing on in the 90th minute. Stertzer’s last RSL appearance came on March 23, 2013 against FC Dallas.
- RSL MF Luis Gil was absent from the lineup tonight, still recovering from a hamstring injury. In his place, MF Luke Mulholland earned his fourth start for the Claret-and-Cobalt.
- Tonight’s match was likely U.S. internationals Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman along with Costa Rican international Alvaro Saborio’s last home game before the trio departs for their respective World Cup preparation camps in mid-May. Real Salt Lake now begins a two-game road trip, facing Chicago Fire on May 3 and Houston Dynamo on May 11, before returning home to face Colorado Rapids on May 17.
REAL SALT LAKE 2–2 VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 2014
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 2 0 2
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 2 2
RSL – Joao Plata (Luke Mulholland, Chris Wingert) – 2’
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Ned Grabavoy) – 9’
VAN – Nicolas Mezquida – 86’
VAN – Sebastian Fernandez – 90’ + 4’
VAN – Kekuta Manneh (Yellow; Foul) – 58’
RSL – Chris Wingert (Yellow; Foul) – 65’
VAN – Johnny Leveron (Yellow; Foul) 90’ + 5’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C), Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez, 63’), Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales (John Stertzer, 90’); Alvaro Saborio, Joao Plata (Olmes Garcia, 74’)
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella; Aaron Maund, Abdoulie Mansally; Devon Sandoval
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4-4-2): David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Andy O’Brien, Johnny Leveron, Jordan Harvey; Gershon Koffie, Matias Laba, Russell Teibert (Sebastian Fernandez, 61’), Kekuta Manneh (Erik Hurtado, 61’); Kenny Miller (Nicolas Mezquida, 67’), Darren Mattocks
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Christian Dean, Ethen Sampson
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Baboucarr Jallow, Felisha Mariscal
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Weather: Clear and 46 degrees