VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps consolidated their lead at the top of the Western Conference standings with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Real Salt Lake at BC Place on Saturday evening.
An early Octavio Rivero penalty kick and a Pa Modou Kah goal -- his third in two matches -- set Vancouver on their way at half time. Cristian Techera added two goals in the second half as the Whitecaps tore apart the depleted visitors.
The win was the first time Vancouver (13-8-3; 42 points) have scored three or more goals in three consecutive games in their MLS era. Real Salt Lake (7-9-8; 29 points) remain outside the playoff places, falling 13 points behind the leaders.
The Whitecaps have been coming out of the traps early in recent weeks, and that trend continued in this one.
Rivero got caught in a tangle of legs in the box and hit the deck six minutes in. Referee Chris Penso pointed to the spot, and the Uruguayan picked himself up to slot home his ninth of the season.
RSL were not pleased with Penso's decision, and their frustration with the referee boiled over in the 29th minute when head coach Jeff Cassar got into a verbal altercation with the official, earning himself a send-off from the sideline.
Vancouver had pushed hard and eventually added that elusive second goal when Kah tapped home from close range in the 40th minute after some fine footwork from Kekuta Manneh to play the ball across goal.
If the visitors had a plan to regroup, they weren't given a chance to execute it, with Techera deftly finishing a low Jordan Harvey cross with the outside of his foot just four minutes into the second half.
The Whitecaps should have added a fourth just before the hour mark when three players beat the offside trap and raced in on goal, but Manneh's heavy touch allowed Jeff Attinella to easily smother the danger.
It wasn't long till that fourth came, though, with Techera grabbing his second, drilling home from the edge of the box in the 68th minute.
The 'Caps had chances to add even more but will be happy with their work on the night, their ninth shutout of the season and the four-point lead it gives them at the top of the Western standings.
Vancouver's busy month continues with a trip to the Montreal Impact on Wednesday for the first leg of the Canadian Championship final. RSL have a midweek cup tie of their own to look forward to when they travel to Sporting KC for their US Open Cup semifinal.