The Whitecaps improved to 10-7-7, while avenging a loss to Real Salt Lake in Utah two weeks ago. Salt Lake (13-9-3) lost its second straight game and fourth straight on the road.
“If we had the answer we'd be undefeated," RSL captain Kyle Beckerman said when asked about his team's road struggles. "It's something you've got to work at I think that winning on the road is really difficult and not many teams do for some reason. We'll just keep at it and keep working hard and it seems if you can get one, maybe a couple others will come with it so hopefully we'll get one.”
Vancouver trails second-place Salt Lake by five points in the Western Conference.
Both teams started the match relatively well, trading a chances in the opening 25 minutes. Vancouver had the first opportunity, nearly going ahead in the 13th minute when FW Camilo forced RSL GK Nick Rimando into a difficult save with a blistering shot from 30 yards.
RSL hit back with a chance of its own in the 25th minute. FW Álvaro Saborío – who scored both RSL goals in the team’s 2-1 win over Vancouver at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 27 – got on the end of MF Javier Morales’ cross at the left post, flicking a fabulous header past Vancouver GK Brad Knighton and DF Jay DeMerit as they collided, the ball banging harmlessly off the post.
DeMerit stayed down after knocking heads with Knighton on the play and – despite gamely attempting to keep playing – had to be taken off in the 31st minute. He was replaced by MLS debutant DF Andy O’Brien.
Camilo had another chance in first-half stoppage time, nearly putting Vancouver on the board just before the break. The Brazilian attacker got on the end of MF Barry Robson’s cross at the PK spot, rising above a multitude of other players and snapping a solid header toward goal to force Rimando into a fine diving save.
That chance took the sides into halftime. RSL made a precautionary change at the break, taking out Morales due to slight adductor tightness and replacing him with MF Luis Gil.
“I'm really pleased with the performance the guys put in to the first half," said Jason Kreis. "A lot of hard work and determination and grit on our part to try and get a result on the road. It's been quite a few games now since we've done that.”
Vancouver took advantage of a fortunate bounce to take the lead in the 58th minute. Camilo got the goal, running onto RSL MF Will Johnson’s deflected clearance in the left side of the box before finishing from a tight angle.
FW Dane Richards doubled Whitecaps FC’s advantage just six minutes later. The Jamaican international collected a pass from FW Darren Mattocks just right of center, taking advantage of ample time on the ball to curl a 25-yard right-footer inside the near post.
The Claret-and-Cobalt had a decent chance in the 66th minute. Saborío had the look, driving a low shot toward the far post from the top right corner of the 18 that Knighton bobbled before eventually collecting.
RSL’s urgency escalated as the second half wore on, the insertion of FW Paulo Junior bringing energy to the pitch. The fleet-footed Brazilian – returning to the RSL gameday 18 after a few weeks on a short-term loan with the minor-league Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, where he scored a goal and added an assist in two games – tracked down a ball in the corner. Paulo Junior then sent a far post cross into the box, where veteran RSL DF Nat Borchers ran on and rose above the Vancouver defense to cut the lead to one goal.
The strike by Borchers snapped RSL's road scoring drought at 360 minutes in MLS play and 450 minutes over all competitions (July 31 CONCACAF Champions League loss at Herediano).