Real Salt Lake finished a three-game home stand with a win over Vancouver Whitecaps, with midfielders Javier Morales and Luis Gil grabbing the goals - both on assists from forward Joao Plata.
The first goal was the product of Nick Rimando found a bursting Joao Plata on the right flank after Vancouver failed to reorganize after a missed free kick. Luis Gil made a run that started inside Rimando's box, and with Plata drawing two defenders on the right, Gil was allowed an unmarked run into the box. Plata's cross in left Gil with plenty to do, and the placement on his header gave Joe Cannon no chance. Cannon clattered Gil, leaving him in some pain, and he came out fewer than 10 minutes after; Sebastian Velasquez predictably took his place in the midfield. Rimando apparently recorded a second-assist for the goal.
Javier Morales netted his second of the season, finishing a pass from none other than Joao Plata after making a central run. It wasn't so different than the first goal in approach, but the manner of assist was different: A simple pass into the middle after Plata made his way into the box gave Morales little to do but finish calmly. But Morales's run from deep into the middle of the box and the run of Plata on the right side - this time seen through by Sebastian Velasquez - shows an awareness of the weaknesses there for exploitation in Vancouver's defense.
Nat Borchers made a goal-line clearance after RSL's defense was caught out on a long ball into the box midway through the second half; Rimando got his body between the ball and the goal, but with the shot dribbling in the direction of the goal, there was no sense taking a chance that it could go wide or hit the post.
Chris Wingert was assured from the outset, making his first appearance of the season after working his way back from a broken foot during the offseason and suffering a quad strain early in the week.
Devon Sandoval made his third start of the season in Alvaro Saborio's absence and combined well with Joao Plata up top. It is Plata and his two assists that undoubtedly wins the bulk of the plaudits, but Sandoval's physicality created chances for the players around him.
Carlos Salcedo made his first appearance for Real Salt Lake, checking in for Joao Plata and dropping as a defensive midfielder alongside Kyle Beckerman. His appearance marks the first time a graduate of the Real Salt Lake academy in Arizona has played for RSL.
Unsurprisingly, Nigel Reo-Coker was the first player booked on the night after a late sliding tackle from behind against Joao Plata. Chris Wingert picked up a yellow after clattering
Inevitably, there was a bit of refereeing controversy after Reo-Coker blocked a Javier Morales shot with his arm. There didn't seem to be much option for deliberation from the Englishman, but having been the victim of some less-than-savory handball calls in recent memory, RSL fans will feel slightly aggrieved.