Vancouver 2 (Koffie, Techera) – Real Salt Lake 1 (J. Morales)
The Vancouver Whitecaps used a Man of the Match performance by Gershon Koffie, another wonder save by David Ousted, and a late goal by Christian Techera after a Real Salt Lake defensive miscue to get past Real Salt Lake 2-1 on the new turf Saturday afternoon at BC Place. Koffie launched a rocket from distance midway through the first half for his first MLS goal of the season on his 100th MLS start before Javier Morales responded with a free kick from distance that curled past the wall and Ousted just before halftime. Techera’s goal came on a miscue from Elias Vasquez, who chested down the ball towards his goalkeeper Nick Rimando, but Techera stole the ball before putting it in the back of the net late in the match.
The Vancouver Whitecaps returned home to a new turf at BC Place after suffering a 1-0 loss in Colorado the week prior. The Whitecaps opponents this week were Real Salt Lake, who looked to avenge their loss to the Whitecaps earlier in the season. Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson started David Ousted in goal, with the usual backline of Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Pa-Modou Kah and Jordan Harvey. In defensive midfield Gershon Koffie earned his 100th MLS start beside Matias Laba. Mauro Rosales and Christian Techera played the wings while Pedro Morales played in behind Octavio Rivero.
Pedro Morales would get the first shot on goal 11 minutes in from just outside the box, a low shot forcing Real Salt Lake keeper Nick Rimando to dive low to his right to make the save. A few minutes later Mauro Rosales would find Christian Techera in the box but he could only shoot high over the net.
24 minutes in Gershon Koffie would hit the crossbar after Octavio Rivero made some nifty moves to dribble past defenders and get it into the box, Koffie had the chance from about six yards out but the ball bounced on him as he shot. Mere moments later John Stertzer would earn a yellow card for a foul against Octavio Rivero but the Whitecaps would be unable to capitalize on the free kick.
Gershon Koffie would get his goal on 36 minutes after rocketing it past Rimando from distance to give the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead.
The Whitecaps continued to pile on the pressure as Justin Glad earned a yellow card for Salt Lake in a dangerous area. The subsequent Morales free kick found the head of Kendall Waston who just put it over the bar late in the first half.
Just before half time Pah-Modou Kah would earn a yellow card for a foul near the Whitecaps box. Javier Morales would step up and launch a strike past David Ousted, who had no chance on the shot to tie the match at 1-1 just before halftime.
Waston almost restored the Whitecaps lead just before half as his header off another Morales free kick went goalbound but Rimando saved it on the line.
A few moments later the referee would blow the halftime whistle and both teams would go into the half tied 1-1.
Real Salt Lake had the first good opportunity of the 2nd half as their corner kick pinballed inside the box for close to a minute before David Ousted eventually got his hands on it.
On 59 minutes Octavio Rivero found himself in alone on Nick Rimando but Rimando would parry the shot away from goal.
Real Salt Lake almost toook the lead on 63 minutes as a header off a corner went goalbound, but the combination of Pedro Morales’ head and David Ousted’s hand managed to keep it out of the net.
Waston would get another headed chance on goal off a corner, this time Rimando managing to hold out his shot on the line to keep the match tied at 1-1.
On 67 minutes Kekuta Manneh came in for an injection of pace for Mauro Rosales as Carl Robinson looked to go on the offensive at home.
Real Salt lake would counter by bringing on Olmes Garcia for Joao Plata. After the the Whitecaps would have sustained pressure for the next several minutes as they managed to earn corner after corner bout would be unable to breach Rimando’s goal. There was a break in play on 77 minutes as John Stertzer went down with a knock to the head.
The Whitecaps would continue their pressure after that and would capitalize on a mistake by Elias Vasquez as he knocked down the ball towards his goalkeeper, but Christian Techera would steal the ball, poke it past Rimando before putting into an empty cage to make it 2-1 Whitecaps.
Before the restart Real Salt Lake would bring on Luis Gil for John Stertzer, and soon after the restart Steven Beitashour would spend several minutes on the pitch injured. As he was being tended to Real Salt Lake made their final substitution, with Alvaro Saborio coming in for Sebastian Jaime.
Steven Beitashour would eventually return to the match as the Whitecaps brought on Darren Mattocks for Christian Techera in the 86th minute.
On 88 minutes Kenny Mansally took down Octavio Rivero as he tried to engineer a Whitecaps counter attack, Mansally earned a yellow card for his efforts.
In stoppage time Russell Teibert came on as a defensive replacement for Pedro Morales. The Whitecaps would see out the match and close out the month of May with a 2-1 victory. Gershon Koffie won the well deserved man of the match award with his first half wonder strike and a number of impressive tackles in the 2nd half.
The Whitecaps now head on the road for over a month as the FIFA Women’s World Cup takes over BC Place from now until early July. Darren Mattocks will also miss close to two months on international duty as Jamaica participates in both the Copa America and the Gold Cup this summer.