Whitecaps' playoff hopes in jeopardy
Sep 28, 2013 / 7:08 pm
Devon Sandoval's goal in the ninth minute gave Real Salt Lake a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS action Saturday.
Using a mostly a second-team lineup, RSL improved to 15-10-6 and gained a share of first place in the Western Conference.
The Whitecaps (11-11-8) saw their playoff hopes fade some more as they remain four points back of fifth-place Colorado with only four games remaining. Only the top five teams qualify for the post-season.
Camilo drew into Vancouver's starting lineup after scoring two goals in a second-half substitute role a week earlier in Montreal. Whitecaps striker Kenny Miller missed the game a groin injury.
As a result, Tommy Heinemann took his place after impressing in a win over Montreal. Heinemann, rarely used for most of the season, made his second consecutive, and third overall, start. Before last week, he had not started since April 20.
Meanwhile, RSL coach Jason Kreis went with 10 new additions to his starting lineup as he rested key players in preparation for Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup final against D.C. United. The winner of that game will qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League.
The absentees included starting goalkeeper Nick Rimando and midfield stalwart Kyle Beckerman
The moves paid off early as Sandoval bounced a header past Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted. It was the third goal of the season for Sandoval, who put in a cross from Lovel Palmer on a counter-attack after the Whitecaps had controlled the run of play in the early going.
The Whitecaps came close to tying the game in the 36th minute, but RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella knocked a Russell Teibert volley of a Heinemann pass over the net.
Heinemann had a chance just seconds before half-time, but he headed a Young-Pyo Lee long lob wide of the goal.
The Whitecaps were credited with four shots in the first half while Salt Lake had two.
Heinemann was hurt early in the second half as he was blindsided by RSL defender Chris Schuler well ahead of the play. Although Heinemann stayed in the game, he and Gershon Koffie subbed off for Kekuta Manneh and Darren Mattocks, respectively.
Moments later, Mattocks had a shot from about six yards blocked by a defender during a scramble.
RSL had a chance to go ahead by another goal around the 61st-minute, but Ousted made a sensational save on a Yordany Alvarez attempt. Ousted lunged to get his hand on the ball, knocking it away for a harmless RSL corner-kick that went untouched before going out of bounds.
Ousted made another nice save in the 68th minute on Sebastian Velasquez, diving and catching the ball in his mid-section. The Whitecaps' goalkeeper made yet another excellent save a little while later as he leaped to get his body on an Olmes Garcia shot from the right side of the area.
Mattocks had another chance to draw the Whitecaps even in the 86th minute, but sailed a shot from 19 yards just wide of the post.
Ousted moved forward in the closing minutes in a desperate bid to get the tying goal, but the effort proved fruitless.
Notes_Whitecaps winger Omar Salgado has resumed training after recovering from a broken foot, but he is not expected to play again this season. ... Manneh's appearance was just his third in the past 10 games.
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