Sandy, UT - Last week the Vancouver Whitecaps stumbled and bumbled on their way to a 0-1 loss at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes. Tonight, however, the Whitecaps persevered through a disjointed opening fifteen minutes and nicked the points care of yet another Darren Mattocks' goal in the 80th minute.
For this match Whitecaps manager Carl Robinson moved away from his trusted 4-2-3-1 formation and opted for a 4-3-1-2 formation instead. This rarely seen formation featured a three-man defensive midfield consisting of Russell Teibert and Gershon Koffie on either side of Matías Laba in the middle. In addition, we saw Darren Mattocks partner with Octavio Rivero, and Nicolás Mezquida play in the No. 10 spot in place of the suspended Pedro Morales.
Surprisingly, Real Salt Lake also had to deal with some changes of their own, and the in-form Javier Morales was unable to play in this match due to injury.
As for the match itself the Whitecaps picked up very much where they left off in San Jose last weekend. The opening quarter hour saw Vancouver commit several fouls, turn the ball over easily, and generally give the impression that it may be another long night away from home for the Blue and White.
Despite these early shortcomings, the Caps made it through the opening stages of the match, but they did have an early scare in the fourth minute when Álvaro Saborio took full advantage of Pa Modou Kah's poor backtracking and marking. Saborio was clear in on goal, but rifled a shot well wide of David Ousted's goal.
By the twentieth minute Vancouver had settled down and looked as though they had put their early jitters behind them. The Caps started to venture into RSL's third of the pitch, but were unable to fashion any scoring chances, or test the ever reliable Nick Rimando.
RSL had another chance ten minutes before the break when Vancouver fullback Steven Beitashour fouled RSL's Jordan Allen outside of the Caps' 18-yard box. Referee Ted Unkel awarded the Claret & Cobalt a free kick, which was taken by Kyle Beckerman. Beckerman's shot evaded the wall, but sailed wide of Ousted's goal.
Vancouver was the better team for the first fifteen minutes of the second half, but were still unable to fashion any chances of note in front of Rimando despite their lively and energetic start.
By the hour mark the game had opened up as both teams looked for a way to break the deadlock. Vancouver had an opportunity to get on the score sheet in the 58th minute when Mezquida and Rivero raced up the pitch on a dangerous lAooking counter attack, but Real Salt Lake's midfield and backline reacted very well to the threat and the Vancouver counter attack was neutralized in short order.
In the 66th minute Rivero squandered a glorious opportunity when put a shot over RSL's goal after fighting off an aggressive Tony Beltran to take the shot.
Rivero's miss was indeed Vancouver's best scoring opportunity of the evening so far, but it Darren Mattocks once again proving to be the hero of the night when he scored in the 80th minute.
Prior to Mattocks' goal Robinson had made a change to his side when he threw Mauro Rosales into the fray about ten minutes earlier. Rosales, who was making his return from an ankle injury he suffered in the road match against the Chicago Fire last month, replaced Mezquida, who was unable to inspire the Vancouver attack during his shift.
Rosales had barely been on the pitch for five minutes when a untidy bout of play saw the ball cleared out of the Vancouver area. As Rosales made a move for the ball Sebastian Saucedo made a studs-up lunge at the Argentinean. Saucedo connected with Rosales' ankle and sent him crumbling to the turf. Referee Unkel made no hesitation in showing the young RSL midfielder a red card.
With less than fifteen minutes left in the match it was a big advantage for the Whitecaps. Five minutes after Saucedo was sent for an early shower Sam Adekugbe had a pass deflected in the middle of the RSL third. The ball rolled quickly towards the left touchline, where it was collected by Teibert.
Teibert did very well to stay a step or two ahead of his marker, and whipped a cross into the RSL area where it was met by the head of Mattocks. Mattocks connected cleanly with the ball, and beat Rimando to score the only goal of the match.
Despite being a man down RSL did push forward in search of an equalizing goal, and were given a good opportunity to draw level after Teibert handled the ball outside of the Vancouver area. Saborio's free kick, however, went straight to Ousted, who first had to parry the ball before he was able to grab it and smother the play.
One minute from full time things went from bad to worse for RSL. Jamison Olave, who was booked in the first half, was shown a second yellow card after he clumsily tripped Mattocks. Even with the benefit of six minutes off added time at the end of the match it was too much of a deficit for 9-man Real Salt Lake to overcome. The Vancouver Whitecaps hung on for their first ever victory at the RioT, and in the process also handed RSL their first loss of 2015.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Darren Mattocks
Referee: Ted Unkel
80' - VAN - Darren Mattocks (Russell Teibert)
Shots: Salt Lake 9 - Vancouver 9
Shots on Goal: Salt Lake 4 - Vancouver 1
Saves: Salt Lake 0 - Vancouver 4
Fouls: Salt Lake 15 - Vancouver 14
Offsides: Salt Lake 0 - Vancouver 3
Corners: Salt Lake 5 - Vancouver 5
6' - VAN - Russell Teibert
41' - RSL - Jamison Olave
83' - VAN - Sam Adekugbe
89' - RSL - Jamison Olave
76' - RSL - Sebastian Saucedo
89' - RSL - Jamison Olave
Real Salt Lake:
18.Nick Rimando; 2.Tony Beltran (27.John Stertzer 84'), 4.Jamison Olave, 12.Elias Vasquez, 17.Demar Phillips; 10.Luis Gil, 5.Kyle Beckerman, 19.Luke Mulholland (49.Devon Sandoval 88'); 7.Jordan Allen (50.Sebastian Saucedo 64'), 15.Alvaro Saborio, 13.Olmes Garcia
24.Jeff Attinella, 16.Wellington Paeckart, 21.Aaron Maund, 29.Abdoulie Mansally
Vancouver Whitecaps FC:
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 4.Kendall Waston, 44.Pa-Modou Kah, 3.Sam Adekugbe; 28.Gershon Koffie, 15.Matías Laba, 31.Russell Teibert; 9.Nicolás Mezquida (7.Mauro Rosales 71'); 11.Darren Mattocks (19. Erik Hurtado 90'), 29.Octavio Rivero
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 2.Jordan Harvey, 20.Deybi Flores, 23.Kekuta Manneh, 88.Robert Earnshaw