It looked as though the first half would be an entertaining one as both teams had early chances to get on the scoreboard first. In the first few minutes it was Joao Plata who collected the ball at the edge of the box and fired a shot on goal which was easily stopped by David Ousted.
Just two minutes later the Whitecaps had their first chance when Sebastian Fernandez found Pedro Morales in the six yard area, after showing some nice footwork to skip past Kyle Beckerman. Unfortunately the 'Caps captain was unable to get a proper foot to the ball and he sent his attempt over the net.
The remainder of the first half was uneventful until added time when a penalty was awarded to the Caps after Kendall Waston was brought down in the box when attempting to convert a corner. Once again it was up to Morales and once again he was unable to provide the goal as his weak attempt was easily stopped by Jeff Attinella.
The first ten minutes of the second half looked similar to the majority of the first half but then RSL struck off a corner when Nat Borchers converted a Javier Morales corner in the 57th minute. The corner was setup when Morales was robbed by Ousted from about 12 yards out.
It only took the Whitecaps five minutes to respond as Pedro Morales made up for his first half misses and converted a penalty to tie the match at one. The second penalty call of the match happened when Erik Hurtado was tackled high by Carlos Salcedo.
A few minutes later the home side had a chance to make it two when second half sub Nicolas Mezquida sent in a cross to the near post which Hurtado flicked on goal but he was stopped by Attinella. Another chance came for the Caps when Morales received a pass from Darren Mattocks but Attinella parried his shot over the bar.
The pressure finally paid off for Vancouver as they took the lead in the 77th minute with Pedro Morales picking up his second of the afternoon. It was sub Kekuta Manneh who made a run into the box and then cut the pass back finding Steven Beitashour. The defender sent the ball back towards Morales who was able to deflect it between Attinella and a RSL defender.
Manneh then had a chance to put the Caps up by two when his shot from inside the box was stopped by Attinella after a run that saw him go by a couple of defenders while ignoring open teammates. Fortunately the Whitecaps, RSL was unable to create any dangerous opportunities for the remainder of the match as Vancouver secured the victory.
The three points, along with Portland’s loss to TFC earlier in the day, has put Vancouver above the red line and into a playoff position with four games to go. It didn’t look like it was going to happen after a first half of missed chances and when things looked direr when the visitors opened the scoring.
Luckily for them they were able to bounce back and gain the win, their second straight at home, and give hope for a playoff berth. They will have a chance to repeat the result at BC Place next Saturday when they take on another strong Western Conference opponent in FC Dallas.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 1 Real Salt Lake
57' - RSL - Nat Borchers (Javier Morales)
62' - VAN - Pedro Morales (penalty kick)
78' - VAN - Pedro Morales (Steven Beitashour, Kekuta Manneh)
VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Andy O'Brien, Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey; Matías Laba, Russell Teibert; Mauro Rosales (Nicolás Mezquida 64), Pedro Morales, Sebastián Fernández (Kekuta Manneh 77); Erik Hurtado (Darren Mattocks 68) [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Mehdi Ballouchy, Ethen Sampson]
SALT LAKE: Jeff Attinella; Chris Winger, Carlos Salcedo, Nat Borchers, Abdoulie Mansally; Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez 82), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Luis Gil (Ned Grabavoy 69); Alvaro Saborio (Sebastian Jaime 69), Joao Plata [subs Not Used: Lalo Fernandez, Aaron Maund, Cole Grossman, Devon Sandoval]
Shots: Vancouver 17 - Real Salt Lake 16
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 9 - Real Salt Lake 7
Saves: Vancouver 6 - Real Salt Lake 7
Fouls: Vancouver 14 - Real Salt Lake 8
Offsides: Vancouver 0 - Real Salt Lake 3
Corners: Vancouver 6 - Real Salt Lake 8
36' - VAN - Steven Beitashour
60' - RSL - Carlos Salcedo
63' - VAN - Russell Teibert
79' - VAN - Pedro Morales
Thoughts on the match:
"I'm hot. I'm sweating. It was a great game to watch if you were a neutral, difficult to watch if you were either manager I believe. The game had everything. It had chances, it had penalties, it had missed decisions, it had wrong decisions, it had right decisions. It was a good game of football. Fortunately enough we came out with the victory today so it helps. It three points, three big points for us, and it stands us in good stead for next week."
Did he watch the Portland result earlier and did that dictate line-up and tactics?
"I did watch it and after about 15 minutes I probably turned it off. In this league, as everyone knows, it's sometimes hard to play a team that is maybe fighting for it's lives, as well as a team that are the top of the table as well."
On the play of Pedro Morales
"It was a conversation we had (to take Pedro off after halftime as he was tiring); I made the decision to keep him on and thank god I did. He makes a difference to us. Pedro will get the headlines today for the goals. I thought in the first half he was probably below the levels that he should have been. As everyone knows, we were struggling for goals and we miss a penalty just before halftime. That was probably my hardest team talk. The boys played well, but we missed chances again. It’s a broken record but I just said you’ve got to keep going and that will make it even better when we do win. They came out and scored; bit sloppy from us on a set piece again. But the fight and the character they showed today – not just Pedro but every single player in my group today – I’m very pleased for them because it’s been tough. It was an important win."
On the play of substitute Nicolas Mezquida:
"Games around the world are won and lost by substitutes. I kept the same team this morning; yesterday I thought about changing it as Nico has been brilliant in training. He got his just reward today. He came on and showed what he could do. He was fantastic."
On the team’s turnaround in the second half:
"I think we saw (Pedro) get back to a passing range we’re used to seeing from him. Sometimes you have to find defining moments in seasons. And maybe this was our defining moment."
On the play of David Ousted:
"David has been excellent for me. At key crucial times, he came up with big saves. He was playing as a sweeper at times; he got in front of Jaime, which is a great but risky decision but it was the right decision. He’s one of 14 guys who were crucial to getting these three points."
On bouncing back from the loss in Portland:
"It’s not easy when you miss a penalty. I think last week we felt sorry for ourselves; not for want of trying. We’re talking about leaders. I’ve lost a few leaders this year but it’s time for these guys to step up. And I challenged them this week to step up. In big games you need big players. And today we had some big players."
On Portland Timbers' Will Johnson’s injury:
"He’s a friend, he’s a winner, he’s a fighter. I’m really gutted for him. We’ll send our best wishes from the club. You don’t want anyone to get seriously injured. There’s no edge for us. We don’t want that. We don’t want players missing games. I want to get in the playoffs because we deserve to get in the playoffs. Disappointing for Will. I wish Will a speedy recovery and I’ll speak to him next week."
Thoughts on the match:
"Great win. It feels fantastic especially the way we won coming from behind. So hopefully this is the start of a couple of good games for us."
On what was said during halftime:
"Carl (Robinson) said to keep doing what we were doing. I think we played a really really good first half. I think we pressed them, we were good on the ball. And that was the message keep doing what we were doing and keep the intensity and I think we did it in the second half."
On how the team responded to Portland’s loss last week:
"I think the reaction was the right one. We got behind each other and we got back into it. At the end that was one of the reasons why we came out with a win today. The mentality of coming back and supporting each other even though we again go behind even though we were the better team."
On how much the player’s meeting earlier this week helped their play:
"It’s always hard to say. I do think it has an effect. I think you saw the senior players getting behind everybody and communicating a lot. And you felt it at halftime, people were disappointed with not being ahead but it wasn’t going to get us down today."
On what Pedro Morales has meant to the team:
"Pedro has been good. He showed today that he has the right mentality…missed a penalty and went right back out and got two goals anyways. I think especially the guys around him got us back, you saw that and I think Pedro felt that as well. So he missed the penalty but everybody was at it again and supported him."
The importance of Steven Beitashour’s play when Ousted came far out to challenge in second half:
"Unbelievable. I came out and tried to block it, I got a little bit of it. But he got on, Beitashour made an absolutely fantastic pay. I think he’s tired now and his hip is a little out of place now but that was fantastic."
Thoughts on the match:
“The intensity was there, it felt like a playoff match and we have to treat every game like it’s the playoffs because every point counts right now. It’s a race with Portland now and that’s a great starting step.”
On his assist on the second Morales goal:
“I saw him. I looked up and I said ‘Pedro I’m passing you the ball’….no that was a shot. But right when I was lining up for it I pictured skying it. So I said ok don’t sky it just put it on your foot and keep it on the ground. I took a lot off of it. I was ready to swing for a home run. That’s why I pictured it going way up. So I just said be safe, put it on target and hopefully something good comes out of it. That was good, it helped us a lot so we just need to continue that momentum to next week.”
On the team’s response in the second half:
“I thought we played real well in the first half to be honest. I thought we did all the little things correctly all the things we’ve been working on in practice. And to go behind in the second half…our response was great. If you look at the Portland match, our response wasn’t great and we felt let down. But this time we just got together, and picked up the intensity and it showed and we came back from that.”
On the impact of the subs tonight:
“In the beginning of the year I thought the subs did great for us, they came off the bench and gave us that spark we needed. And today they did a great job and we need them. It’s not just whoever is starting, it’s the three subs and everyone on the bench and the guys at training. So this is a whole team effort and today we did a great job. They were definitely fired up.”
On Pedro Morales’ performance:
“To bounce back from that, it’s tough to miss a penalty kick. So to bounce back the way he did was great. That’s why he’s our leader, and we feed off of it, so he did a great job. Not just the goals but distributing the ball and his intensity and closing them down as well. And we need that. Every game from now on has to be that intense.”
On the impact his former team San Jose earthquakes have in the playoff race:
“At the same time guys are fighting for their jobs. They aren’t going to be giving anyone an easy time. So it’s good that they’re playing Portland twice. I think they’re going to give them a tough time they match up well together. So hopefully they’re going to give us some favours but if not we’ve got our own destiny, we have to take care of business that’s the main thing. So tonight was a great step towards that, we’ve just got to continue doing that.”
On the team performances:
“If you look all around the table I thought everyone played well. David Ousted did a great job keeping us in that game. Andy O’Brien and the big man Kendall Watson just winning every ball. And the guys in the middle getting every ball, and that’s just how you win games. The little things. Fighting and battling. So Pedro definitely carries us offensively and we run through him. So if we can do all the little things and get to the ball and run off of him, I think we’ve got a great team and we can do well.”
Thoughts on the game:
“It’s a step in the right direction. We can be content with the performance. We’ve got four games left, four games to make the playoffs but right now I think we can be happy.”
If he tried to take the second penalty shot:
“No, no I didn’t. I gave the ball to Pedro because he’s been a leader all season long. He’s been great on penalties all season long. And nine times out of ten he’s going to score. One doesn’t go in but he’s going to bang another one in.”
On the importance of seeing Pedro bounce back in the second half:
“The game’s 90 minutes long. And sometimes in periods of the game you’re not doing what you want to do. I think Pedro was great all game long. Maybe at certain points in the first half he wasn’t getting on the ball as much as he wanted to, but that’s the type of player he is. He comes in the second half and scores two goals and gives us the victory.”
On the fact that the club had not won a game after trailing or being tied after the first half:
“We won now. So we can put that in the past, that’s history. Going forward there’s no looking back anymore. There’s no looking back at records that might be negative like that one. I think it’s about being positive and looking forward to the next game, and trying to win the next game and being positive about everything. Having belief in each other and belief in this team. And belief that we can win it at home and win on the road. As you can see it tonight the fans really push us on. And maybe some people are doubting us, but this locker room believes, our fans believe, and our organization believes that we can win.”
On the Portland vs Toronto game:
“I think a couple of guys were watching the match and following it. It may have been in the back of our minds but we really didn’t discuss it. We knew we had a big chance and we took that chance. And that’s what great teams do. That’s what good teams do and that’s what teams that will make the playoffs do.”
Reaction to Portland’s Will Johnson’s injury:
“I had seen what had happened. And you know, God bless him. You never want to see that happen and I feel for him. So I’m definitely going to send him a message later on tonight. And I just hope for a speedy recovery for him.”
On if Johnson’s injury will affect Portland’s playoff chances:
“I don’t really want to speak about that. It’s an injury, it’s an injury you don’t really want to see happen to anybody, especially a friend. And I feel for Will and again I hope he has a speedy recovery.”
On Carl Robinson’s halftime message:
“It’s really been a team effort all year long. Like I said before this match, the boss, the fans, the training staff they can only do so much. And it was really down to us tonight. And we’ve showing that we can step it up, and we can play when the pressure is on, and we can win when the pressure is on. That’s a massive result for us tonight, and it’s a result that we can’t be content with and we can’t stop now. Because it’s one game, it’s one result and at the end of the day if we lose the next four games it’s not going to mean anything. So we can be happy but we know we need to keep pushing because that’s what we need to make the playoffs.”
Thoughts on the game:
“The team, my partners are very happy for today. For the way we needed the win today especially with Portland’s loss against Toronto. My teammates were very good today, good attitude. We had so many chances for a goal, but it is important today for a win, for three points. Very, very important.”
On his missed penalty kick:
“What happened is the goalkeeper is good. Every time I shoot on the same side, this time I lost. But my partner Jordan Harvey in the second penalty talked to me, he said ‘One more again’ for confidence. And I shot on the same side and a goal.”
On his goal from Steven Beitashour:
“I think when Beitashour shot the ball was out. I just put my legs in a good position and it was easy for me.”
On leading by example in the second half of the game:
"I think my teammates, when we finished the first half, they were very confident for me, [saying] 'Pedro, let’s go, no problem, take one more opportunity.' In the second half I felt so much better and more confident in my play. I got two important goals for the team."
REAL SALT LAKE
Thoughts on the match:
“The quality that Real has been typically known for just wasn’t there. The fight was there, the intensity was there, but we just didn’t play good enough soccer tonight. Credit to Vancouver, they were aggressive. We were aggressive too, just not good enough tonight.”
On his decision to rest/not rest his starters:
“Any players that I put out there, I think are first-teamers and starters. There were four or five changes to our lineup from our last lineup [against Colorado]. “
On whether the penalty kick calls were correct:
“I’m not pleased about it. I’m just not pleased about it. Obviously, we put ourselves in those positions, but I’m not pleased. Really disappointed. It’s tough enough to go on the road and try to get a result, but it’s even tougher when you’ve got two PK calls against you.”
Thoughts on Attinella’s play:
“I thought he did a great job. Obviously he made a huge save on the PK, but really commanded his box well, looked very comfortable and really did a great job.”
More thoughts on the overall match:
“I actually thought our soccer was pretty good. You know, it’s a team that had their backs against the wall, and you saw them tonight that they were fighting hard on every play. There was no give up on that team, and that’s a credit to coach Robinson. They kept going. We kept going, too, but it just wasn’t our night.”
Thoughts on Real Salt Lake’s play:
“We battled, and we were unfortunate not to get a result. Two PKs against, that’s pretty tough, and then a shot that’s going wide that happens to land at somebody’s foot. The ball didn’t bounce our way, and we battled - you’ve got do that on the road in a tough place when the team’s fighting for the playoffs. We were just unfortunate, but we fought hard enough to get a point, that’s for sure.
On getting his first start after a long break:
“That’s my role right now. I get a couple of days notice, and I’ve just got to be ready. I’m kind of used to it at this point, but it’s always exciting to get to play. Obviously, you just want to get a result.”
On Pedro Morales’ first PK, which he stopped:
“I had a good scouting report, I went the right way, and he didn’t hit it as well as he hit the second one, that’s for sure. I just got a hand to it. PKs are such a toss-up, as you saw with the next one that he buried. It’s always good to get the save, but in the end, it didn’t matter too much.”
Thoughts on the game:
“I thought it was an entertaining game for the fans, which is great. It’s just unfortunate not to come out with a result.”
On how much more difficult the game is after two PKs against:
“It’s always going to be tough, especially against a team that’s been struggling to score. I think in quite a few of their last games, the only time they have actually scored is through PKs, and then that gets them going. It’s unfortunate that the two PKs were called against us, but sometimes you have to go through it, and that’s what we did tonight, and we weren’t able to get a result.”
On what they can take from this performance moving forward:
“I think the important thing was the effort that we gave tonight. I thought everybody fought for each other and really had each other’s back …the main thing you can get from it is if you can work for each other and really react to mistakes, which I thought we did that. We’ll take that and see if we can get better next week. We’ll work hard this week in practice and come out next week firing.”