Whitecaps Fall Deeper After Suffering 0-4 Loss To Real Salt Lake

by Michael Martinez

After giving myself 36 hours to think about the match, I can finally dive right into it. The Whitecaps let in another extra-time goal but for some reason it did not sting as much as the previous four. They gave up a goal in the first and last minutes of the game as Real Salt Lake took control early. It was almost poetic. 

With one win in nine matches, the Whitecaps were hoping to build off of the little momentum of back-to-back road draws against the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas. Unfortunately for the Whitecaps, it just did not happen. It’s not like they played terrible, they just did not look like a team. There appeared to be a plan set by Marc dos Santos, but no one seemed to be on the same page. The result showed that. 

Lineups

Vancouver Whitecaps: 4-3-3

Real Salt Lake: 

Match Details

Scoring Summary

1’ – RSL – Damir Kreilach (assisted by Aaron Herrera)

57’ – RSL – Damir Kreilach (assisted by Justin Meram)

74’ – RSL – Albert Rusnak (penalty kick)

90’+4 – RSL – Anderson Julio

Statistics

Possession: VAN 55.2 – RSL 44.8

Shots: VAN 10 – RSL 18

Shots on Goal: VAN 2 – RSL 8

Saves: VAN 4 – RSL 2

Fouls: VAN 7 – RSL 9

Offsides: VAN 0 – RSL 0

Corners: VAN 5 – RSL 4

Cautions

24’ – RSL – Pablo Ruiz (yellow)

81’ – RSL – Donny Toia (yellow)

 

Match Report

“We don’t deserve to have nine points, but we don’t deserve to have 16 points either. Maybe we deserve to have 12 or 13 points, so nine is heavy on us,” he said. “It’s a very difficult scenario we’re in. We have to find solutions, and we will for sure.

Image via Lucas Muller

The Whitecaps are officially on an eight match winless streak or only have one win in ten matches. Whichever way you spin it, it is not looking good for the Whitecaps. They cement themselves at the bottom of the Western Conference but now find themselves in a three team race for the bottom of the entire league. The only teams below them are Inter Miami and fellow countrymen, Toronto FC. Coach Marc dos Santos seems to think we deserve a better fate, but I’m not so sure on that one. 

To start things off, RSL got going early after a nice ball in behind the backline. Justin Meram did well to flick the ball to Damir Kreilach. From there the RSL #8 did well to get a toe to the shot, which deflected off of Erik Godoy and over Thomas Hasal to open the scoring for the visitors.

It was a tough blow to concede so early especially for Hasal who has not started since his injury last year. What a way to go in your first start, with a howler… To be fair the defense did not do him justice as Godoy did not track back quick enough. You have to play a bit tighter with a player like Kreilach.

The rest of the first half was fairly uneventful despite a couple chances for both teams. The Whitecaps did a good job at holding possession, 55%,  and controlling the game for the most part. They were hoping to build momentum going into the break. They just needed to generate chances. 

Like most of the season, the Whitecaps went into the second half with a bit of fire under their asses. Brian White and Cristian Dajome had a couple of excellent chances but they just could not capitalize. These missing chances would prove to haunt them as RSL came knocking soon after. 

After a great stop from Hasal, RSL winger Justin Meram whipped in a wonderful ball into the box for an unmarked Kreilach who headed it right into the back of the net. Netting himself a brace in the process. Another defensive relapse where the player loses his man. This seems to be a trend as of late…

After being down two goals in the second you would think most teams would be down and out. Especially against a solid defensive team like RSL. After some good saves from Hasal, it seemed as though the young keeper could help this team build some momentum for a comeback. 

Whitecaps came at RSL with a couple of incredibly close chances thanks to efforts from Deiber Caicedo and Brian White again. Caicedo helped set up both chances but White could not get the ball in the net. Despite having a 1v1 with the keeper. This is not the first time White has botched a couple chances. This is someone the FO paid $400k for by the way. 

Not taking your chances proves costly for the Whitecaps. RSL would once again punish them for their lack of cutting edge. Once again, it would be Meram, with the veteran doing well to win a penalty in the 73rd minute. Giving his team a chance for a third and the game ending goal. RSL DP Albert Rusnak stepped up to the spot, and he made no mistake with his effort, putting it past Hasal into the corner.

While it was a good penalty by Rusnak, I have to commend Hasal for having good awareness and positioning as he was almost able to get a hand on it. The young Canadian has potential, he just needs a little bit more time to grow. 

Not much happened for either team for the rest of the match. The next bit of action did not happen until the dying minutes of the game. After coming on as a substitute, Anderson Julio scores an absolute rocket in the 94th minute giving the fans a memorable victory.

Post Match Thoughts

I can’t say I am too happy about this loss. The last few matches have hurt a bit but this just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. The Whitecaps have extended their winless streak to eight games now and are just one away from tying the clubs previous record of nine. I understand that without two of our main starters it would be a tough match but I did not expect this. 

There is something to be said about our Canadian neighbor Toronto FC though. I’m sure fans and neutrals alike don’t forget that they recently fired their coach after such a poor start of the season. It’s safe to guess that something like this for Marc dos Santos is in the minds of fans everywhere. We were all a bit surprised when Sportstalkonline’s Joshua Griffith asked point-blank if he thought he was the man to coach this team. 

Naturally he responded with: 

“One hundred per cent, yes. But it’s a question to ask somebody else.”

 

The Whitecaps have ten days to prepare for the next match thanks to the Gold Cup. They have two more games scheduled at Rio Tinto before hitting the road for the next three. With restrictions lightening up, and Toronto and Montreal announcing their returns to Canada, one of the biggest factors working against the Caps may be removed. 

Let’s hope this prospect of going home helps build momentum going forward. If not, I fear what could happen to the team otherwise. 

“First thing it’s gonna take for us (to turn it around) is to go back home. I think that’s such an important factor, and it’s been very hard on all of us to be here. That’s the No. 1 thing,” said Dos Santos. “It’s a big factor always playing away, but one thing is playing away. There’s no doubt that we have to make sure that we go back to Vancouver as fast as possible.”

“I’m gonna have to be creative, I’m gonna have to find solutions. And I’m gonna have to think about that very well but I’m incredibly motivated to prepare for the next game.”

 

The Whitecaps now enter a 10-day break between matches before another Western Conference contest against LA Galaxy on Saturday, July 17 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kickoff  is set for 7 p.m. PT. You can catch the match live on TSN1/4 and ESPN+.

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