SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake and the Vancouver Whitecaps delivered another heart-pounding, down-to-the-wire thriller Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
And for the second time this season, they finished with a draw.
RSL’s Joao Plata scored in the 81st minute and the teams survived an end-to-end flourish in the final minutes to finish in a 1-1 tie.
Vancouver’s Darren Mattocks scored on a penalty kick in the 73rd minute after a questionable foul call against RSL defender Nat Borchers in the penalty area.
Tempers rose and spilled over at midfield following the strike, and led referee Edvin Jurisevic to issue four yellow cards in a span of three minutes.
The teams’ first meeting on April 26 also resulted in a wild finish, as Vancouver erased a 2-0 deficit with two goals in the final eight minutes, perhaps trimming the teams' fuses a bit.
Mattocks’ goal Saturday – his third of the season -- denied RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando a chance to tie Kevin Hartman atop the league's all-time shutouts list. He remains one behind Hartman’s mark of 112.
The Whitecaps earned a point for the fifth time in their past six road matches and improved 4-2-6 to since April 19.
Plata took a flick from Kyle Beckerman, outran Steven Beitashour toward the corner, then beat David Ousted low at the far post to tie the match. It was the first RSL goal in open play (not from a set piece) in 418 minutes.
Real Salt Lake had two golden opportunities in the final minutes, but Luke Mulholland’s bicycle kick sailed high in the 83rd minute and Ousted collided with a surging Robbie Findley to prevent a goal in stoppage time.
The hosts missed on several early chances before Vancouver began to gain more possession late in the first half. RSL controlled 64 percent of possession in the opening half, and Vancouver failed to put a shot on goal.
After starting the season unbeaten in the first 12 matches, Real Salt Lake are limping through summer with a 1-4-3 mark since May 31.
RSL continue their three-game homestand Thursday against Montreal. Vancouver have a week off before returning home to host FC Dallas on July 27.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Joao Plata||The diminutive striker came through in the clutch yet again for RSL with his equalizer. Where would they be this year without him?|
|2||David Ousted||Made two crucial stops, one very early and the other very late, to keep Vancouver in the game and lock up a point on the road|
|3||Kyle Beckerman||Couldn't convert his big chance, but set up Plata's goal and disrupted the Whitecaps through the middle of the field|