Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Real Salt Lake dominates possession in win over the Whitecaps

Real Salt Lake dominates possession in win over the Whitecaps

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The Vancouver Whitecaps were unfortunate to have to face Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium the game after the Utah-based squad registered its first loss at home in two years.  The result was a 2-0 loss at the hands of RSL in lacklustre fashion.

“Today it just wasn’t good enough in so many aspects of the game,” said coach Tom Soehn, “especially when you look at the amount of 50-50 balls we lost. This league, especially on the road, it’s a difficult league, and when you have four or five (players) competing it’s not enough. It takes 11 guys.”

While the ‘Caps had a decent midweek outing against Chivas USA in the first match with Soehn at the helm, this one didn’t go as planned.  In the early moments it was clear that RSL was intent on its trademark style of play — one of dominating possession, and in this one it didn’t disappoint, spending nearly 63 per cent of the time on the ball, compared to Vancouver’s 37 per cent.

“We worked so well organizing our pressure and making sure we were compact against Chivas USA and I felt like we let that all slip in this game, especially from the start,” lamented Soehn.

While they were on their back heels right from the start, Shea Salinas seemed to have an early opportunity against the run of play in the 25th minute.  He was able to get behind the defence, but instead of using his pace to move in on goal, he attempted a square ball that ended up floating across the field and out of play.

As is often the case, the penalizing moment for that miscue would come just a few minutes later when RSL’s Kyle Beckerman fed a ball into forward/midfielder Jean Alexandre, who was able to turn, face goal, and get an easy finish off that Joe Cannon was helpless to stop.  There were questions on the play, as one replay showed him to be fairly even, but perhaps leaning just ahead of the defender.

With the start of the second half, the ‘Caps would make two changes.  They brought off Peter Vagenas —who was reportedly experiencing dizziness — bringing in Alexandre Morfaw, who had seen 90 minutes of work in the midweek outing.   And they also took off Russell Teibert in favor of the youngster Omar Salgado.

In addition, it appeared that Soehn was trying to get more bodies into the midfield in an attempt to equalize the possession, as left back Alain Rochat was often seen advanced from his backline position.

There were some mixed results as Vancouver did get into the RSL end with much more frequency.  They also forced goalkeeper Nick Rimando into making a couple of saves.

One such save came when Michael Nanchoff delivered a beautiful ball into the area off of a free kick finding the head of defender Bilal Duckett, but the shot was parried away by Rimando.

However, in pressing forward the ‘Caps opened themselves up a bit more at the back, and Fabian Espindola in particular seemed intent on making them pay for that, and in the 79th minute he did just that.

Alexandre was fighting for the ball near the midfield stripe with two Whitecap players, and managed to get a foot on the ball as he fell to the turf.  In the process, he found Espindola racing into space with only green grass, and a helpless Cannon back to try to stop the play.  He was easily able to pick out his spot, and put away the final goal for the night.

Vancouver who were missing talented, and tempestuous striker Eric Hassli due to red card suspension will next face Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle Sounders next Saturday.  At least one ‘Caps player is relieved to be able to distance himself from this match and have a bit of breathing time before the next outing.

“We just didn’t have the ball at all; they completely controlled the first and second halves,” said Salgado after the match.  “I think it’s important for us to clear our heads and look ahead to Seattle and hopefully we can get that rivalry on.”

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