Real Salt Lake couldn’t make Cristian Techera pay for taking his shirt off.
Techera scored the go-ahead goal on a penalty kick, then received his second yellow card for his celebration and was ejected as 10-man Vancouver managed to beat RSL 2-0 on Friday in British Columbia.
“I’m very happy and proud with the way my team played for three-quarters of the game,” RSL coach Mike Petke said. “But at the end of the day we didn’t put the ball in the net. … I think we just needed to be a bit more selfish when we got into the final third tonight, a bit more clinical on our shooting and our placement.”
The match started with a strong first-half performance from the visitors, but things unraveled with a 75th-minute penalty kick as RSL center back Nick Besler took down Nicolás Mezquida in the box.
Techera took the shot from the spot and he drove it to RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s left side. Forgetting that he had received a yellow card three minutes earlier, Techera took off his shirt before soaking in the fans’ applause. That called for a second yellow, and he was sent off.
But Vancouver responded well and scored a second goal in the 79th minute. Alphonso Daviess sped past two RSL defenders to send a cross to forward Anthony Blondell at the far post. Blondell tapped it in to double Vancouver’s lead.
“This is a loss, for the first time this year, that we can all keep our heads up,” Rimando said. “We’ve got to keep not giving up those penalties. Every time we’ve got a penalty this year we’ve lost the game. But all in all I thought the performance in an away game, the circumstances that we’re in, I thought it went well. And if we continue to play that way I think we’ll be [heading] in the right direction.”
Real Salt Lake weathered strong bursts from Vancouver, the most dangerous of which came in the 14th minute. Rimando came off his line to disrupt a breakaway by Blondell and as Blondell took a touch to the right to sidestep him, RSL defender Justen Glad came up with a goal-saving slide tackle.
Vancouver had six shots, three of which were blocked and three of which were off target. After getting back to defend Vancouver’s attack in transition, RSL found much of its offensive strength in the buildup.
In the 21st minute, RSL midfielder Damir Kreilach took the ball up the left side and looked to the middle for a pass. Then he pulled the ball back and rolled it up the wing for forward Corey Baird, who dribbled toward the middle, cutting across the corner of the penalty box, and lining a shot off the crossbar.
Then 24 minutes later, Joao Plata had another promising chance, but his shot was tipped over the crossbar by Whitecaps goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.