Cristian Techera and Anthony Blondell scored goals four minutes apart in the second half as the host Vancouver Whitecaps blanked Real Salt Lake 2-0 in Major League Soccer action Friday night.
The Whitecaps (4-4-1) ended their losing streak at three games and atoned for a humiliating 6-0 road loss at Kansas City last weekend. The Caps also made amends for a 2-0 home loss to expansion side Los Angeles FC, when they were booed off the pitch. RSL (3-4-1) suffered its second loss in three games.
Techera scored on a penalty kick in the 75th minute — moments before being ejected for excessive celebration. He doffed his jersey in delight and received a yellow card, which was his second of the match and resulted in an automatic red. Techera is automatically suspended from Vancouver’s next game, May 6 in Orlando.
But, even with the Caps down a man, Blondell managed to net his first career MLS goal as he put in a pass from Alphonso Davies in the 79th minute.
Vancouver coach Carl Robinson deployed six different starters after his club suffered the most lopsided loss in its MLS history.
Two changes resulted from one-game suspensions to forward Yord Reyna and midfielder Efrain Juarez after they were ejected from the non-contest in Kansas City. Brett Levis made his first MLS career start, at left back. The start capped a return to MLS following a long injury order.
He suffered a torn knee ligament in Vancouver’s final game — his MLS debut — in October 2016. He was limited to five games with Vancouver’s USL affiliate in 2017 after recovering sufficiently. Levis played 62 minutes and was subbed out as Robinson adjusted his formation, moving Brek Shea from midfield to the back and inserting 17-year-old Davies up front.
Defender Sean Franklin also made his first start for the Caps, at right back, as Robinson revamped his defense corps.
It looked like Blondell was going to score in the 16th minute as he went around RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando on a breakaway, but defender Kyle Beckerman raced back and steered the ball away without fouling the Whitecap.
In the 45th minute, Caps goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic made a sensational save as he punched Joao Plata’s shot from distance away as it was headed toward the right corner of the net. Marinovic posted his second shutout of the season.
The Whitecaps lost Jordon Mutch to injury in the 56th minute, prompting the insertion of Davies. RSL striker Corey Baird left with a leg problem in the 68th minute.
—Field Level Media