The Vancouver Whitecaps did what twenty-nine of the last thirty visitors to Rio Tinto Stadium did which was to leave Utah without a victory. Of course the Caps could not come up with any result as they fell to Real Salt Lake 2-0 to extend their winless streak to thirteen games. However it wasn’t the score line that was troubling it was the uninspired way the team in white performed on the pitch that was more troubling.
The club was completely dominated in the possession stat by Real Salt Lake as the visitors had barely over thirty percent possession in the match. This started almost immediately in the first half as RSL rarely gave the ball and when the Whitecaps started stringing a few passes together and close to the box, the player with the ball would be surrounded by multiple players. RSL continued their domination of the Whitecaps in possession, 70%, when it finally paid off for them as Alexandre, who may have been offside, got through the backline and deposited the ball into the back of the net. While the Caps would have a chance once in a while, they were really no danger to Real Salt Lake in the final third.
Despite making two half time substitutions, Salgado for Teibert and Morfaw for Vagenas, Real Salt Lake continued to apply pressure with their possession. The home dominated the first thirty-five minutes as it was multiple Joe Cannon saves that kept the expansion side in the match. However there were so many spectacular saves that Cannon could make as Espindola was sent in clear and beat the MLS veteran on a breakaway shot. They finally showed a pulse as for the five to seven minutes after the second goal the Whitecaps strung some strong play and created a few chances. Their best chance a cracker of a shot unleashed by Alain Rochat from outside the box that forced Nick Rimaldo, who started despite being the third goalie of the USA Gold Cup squad, into making a huge save.
It was clear when the Caps struggled with having possession against Chivas that it was not going to be easy to gain an advantage against Real Salt Lake as they both employ the same system with Chivas coach Robin Fraser being an assistant last year. Unfortunately for the Whitecap supporters it was clear on this day that the players had lost the will to put up a fight. The midfield could not handle the battle in the middle of the pitch even when they subbed a defender for a midfielder giving the Caps one more than RSL. At this point the Whitecaps do not have the players that can play the possession style of play that Soehn has talked about and playing against RSL was proof of that. The few chances they had were blown as usual by their lack of touch and finish in the final third which is a recurring theme. On the other side the backline could not handle the strikers as both Alexandre and Espindola were regularly in dangerous spots and could have scored a couple more.
The Whitecaps also had another couple of debuts as MLS veteran Peter Vagenas started the game and Michael Nanchoff, 1st round pick and Generation Adidas player, came on as a sub in the second half. Vagenas only lasted one half as he subbed by Morfaw, The Whitecaps have one more game on this trip to play but can return home and train in Vancouver as the final match is their closest road game in Seattle against the Sounders. This will be the first time the Whitecaps will have a full week off before a league match since their match against FC Dallas on April 23rd. They must use this time to learn Soehn’s new formation and tactics before they renew their Cascadia rivalry against Seattle at Qwest Field in a week.