Real Salt Lake earned just their second win of the season, taking down the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps by a score of 2-1, despite a pair of defensive injuries to Demar Phillips and Marcelo Silva in the first half. Luis Silva’s goal in first-half stoppage time got things going for RSL, and Jefferson Savarino’s 88th-minute notch proved to be the game winner as RSL improves to 2-2-1 with seven points, enough to catapult themselves above the playoff line for the time being early in the season.
In a bit of a lineup twist, Mike Petke opted to start youngster Corey Baird on the left wing in lieu of Joao Plata, who ended up starting on the bench. This isn’t too surprising given Petke’s comments last week about remedying the team’s problems, especially following Plata’s reaction after being subbed out of the game in Toronto. Baird bagged his first-ever MLS goal in Toronto, and obviously Petke was hoping he could keep the momentum going in the attack tonight.
RSL had a slight scare right off the bat in the first minute when Demar Phillips went down with an apparent injury after a challenge from a Vancouver player. Clutching his knee, after receiving some attention from the team trainer he was back up and playing again. Unfortunately, he went down in the 13th minute again and had to be pulled off the field after playing through the pain, making way for Adam Henley to replace him on the left side.
Luis Silva had RSL’s first golden chance in the 19th minute when he collected the ball at the top of Vancouver’s penalty box. He cut to the right and launched a curling shot that was only kept out of the net by the outstretched hand of Whitecaps ‘keeper Stefan Marinovic, stopping the home side from getting on the scoresheet early.
The defensive injuries didn’t stop as Marcelo Silva went down in the 39th minute and didn’t get back up. After narrowly saving a goal by poking the ball out just to the side of the post, it appeared that he suffered a groin injury of some sort and he was seen on the field calling for a change. David Horst came in to fill his spot as Petke’s options were severely hampered just before halftime.
Luis Silva was able to ease the pressure a bit in the dying moments of the first half as he opened the scoring in the fourth minute of stoppage time. On the attack, Brooks Lennon sent a ball in from the right side and Silva collected it inside the Whitecaps 18-yard box. With a nice little turn, he sent off a shot that took a deflection off of Jakob Nerwinski’s heels, just enough to send Marinovic the wrong way while the ball went into the back of the net, giving the home side a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
The next big break wouldn’t come until the 88th minute when Jefferson Savarino banged in a ball sent into him from Corey Baird. Damir Kreilach got the play going by sending a ball in to a streaking Baird on the left side of the goal. Baird collected it near the goal line and sent it into the center to find Savarino, who easily slotted it past ‘Caps ‘keeper Marinovic to double the home side’s lead.
Just four minutes later, Brek Shea would ruin RSL’s clean sheet in the second minute of stoppage time, putting a ball past Rimando and into the net off a Kei Kamara assist. However, it wouldn’t quite be enough as Savarino’s late goal would be the nail in the coffin for the Whitecaps.
RSL travels east to take on New York City FC in their first midweek contest while Vancouver returns home to play host to Los Angeles FC next weekend.
45+4’ RSL — Luis Silva (Brooks Lennon)
88’ RSL — Jefferson Savarino (Corey Baird, Damir Kreilach)
90+2’ VAN — Brek Shea (Kei Kamara)
Rimando; Lennon, M Silva (Horst 41’), Glad, Phillips (Henley 13’); Beckerman, Kreilach; Savarino, Rusnak, Baird; L Silva (Sunny 82’)
Marinovic; Nerwinski, Waston, Aja, de Jong (Shea 74’); Juarez, Felipe, Mezquida (Blondell 81’); Ibini (Techera 65’), Kamara, Davies
17’ RSL — Adam Henley — yellow card
28’ RSL — Marcelo Silva — yellow card
56’ RSL — Justen Glad — yellow card
75’ RSL — Brooks Lennon — yellow card
78’ VAN — Kendall Waston — yellow card