VANCOUVER, BC, Canada (Friday, April 27, 2018) – Real Salt Lake (3-4-1, 10 points, 6th West) fell Friday night at Vancouver, 0-2, conceding a 75th-minute penalty kick and then allowing a shorthanded Whitecaps goal four minutes later. Head Coach Mike Petke's team was unable to notch back-to-back wins for the first time this season, but will seek a bounceback win for the fourth time this year one week from Sunday, on May 6, at Orlando City (3:00 p.m. MT kickoff).
RSL kicked off Friday's match with what is believed to be the youngest backline in MLS history, as left back Pablo Ruiz (19 years old), centerbacks Justen Glad (21 y.o) and Nick Besler (24 y.o.), and right back Brooks Lennon (20 y.o.) combined for an average age of 21 years. It was Glad who provided the club's first-half defensive highlight, tracking back to deny Vancouver FW Anthony Blondell an open net after rounding RSL GK Nick Rimando, still seeking his 200th career MLS reg. season victory.
RSL's possession and passing game rounded into form to dominate the game's first sixty minutes, as near-chances by MF Kyle Beckerman, FW Corey Baird and FW Joao Plata were denied by either the woodwork or the Vancouver 'keeper. However, in the 75th minute, the game changed when Besler lunged after his own touch and took down Whitecaps FW Nicholas Mezquida. Vancouver's Cristian Techera converted the penalty to give him six goals in as many games against RSL and provide the home side a 1-0 lead, but earned a second yellow for removing his shirt in the resultant celebration.
Despite the man disadvantage, Vancouver doubled its lead just four minutes later, going up 2-0 in the 79thminute when Blondell poked home a far-post offering from 17-year old Whitecaps winter Alphonso Davies, who entered the game in the 61stminute and got in alone down his left side to create the short-handed opportunity. With the win, Vancouver snapped a three-game slide and won at home for the first time since their 2018 opener.
UP NEXT: RSL will continue on the road for most of May, with only a home match on May 12 at Rio Tinto Stadium breaking up a stretch that sees the Utah side play four out of five games away. One week from Sunday, RSL makes the first of three maiden visits to new MLS stadia, meeting Orlando City SC at Orlando City Stadium for the first time on May 6 (3:00 p.m. MT on KMYU, ESPN700 AM and the RSL on KSL app / KSL.com). The last time RSL traveled to Florida to face Orlando, the match was played at the Citrus Bowl (now called Camping World Stadium). Later this season, RSL will play LAFC at their new home, Banc of California Stadium on August 15, and at Atlanta United in Mercedes-Benz on September 22.
- 19 year-old Argentine DF Pablo Ruiz made his first-ever MLS start after appearing in the previous two matches off the bench for RSL;
- RSL played without nine players due to injury or injury precaution. GK Alex Horwath(Achilles), DF Shawn Barry (knee), DF Tony Beltran (knee), DF David Horst (knee), DF Taylor Peay (knee), DF Marcelo Silva (hamstring), FW Jordan Allen (knee), FW Luis Silva (ankle) and FW Alfredo Ortuño (groin);
- Rookie FW Ricky Lopez-Espin became the club's eighth debutant of 2018, joining Barry, MF Damir Kreilach, Ortuño, Henley, Baird, Ruiz and DF Nick Besler… RSL boss Mike Petke has seen a player earn his first-ever club/league minutes in seven of his eight games so far this year, with only the March 30 loss at Toronto serving as the exception
- RSL GK Nick Rimando remains stuck on reg. season win #199, looking to reach the 200 plateau and extend his own all-time MLS mark next time out at Orlando