The Vancouver Whitecaps took a major step toward securing a return to the MLS playoffs, while Real Salt Lake saw its own recent surge toward the postseason halted for the time being.
A pair of second-half goals from Kendall Waston and Yordy Reyna were enough to help give the Whitecaps a 3-2 victory over RSL at BC Place on Saturday night.
The win, Vancouver’s third in a four-match unbeaten streak, pushed the Whitecaps into third place in the MLS Western Conference, just a point behind second-place Seattle, and three points behind first-place Portland.
Cristian Techera’s right-footed effort in the 29th minute opened the scoring, giving him his sixth goal of the season after he converted a Jakob Nerwinski cross, beating Nick Rimando.
The lead only lasted eight minutes though as Chris Wingert equalized for RSL, finishing with a right-footed effort from a difficult angle.
Waston put the hosts back in front in the 52nd minute, finishing off a rebound. Tim Parker’s prior effort struck the post and fell nicely for the Costa Rican international.
Justen Glad and David Horst saw efforts kept out by David Ousted before the Whitecaps put the final nail in the coffin.
Reyna extended Vancouver’s lead in the 64th minute when he headed home a cross from Bernie Ibini-Isei.
Tony Beltran pulled a goal back for RSL after 83 minutes making the final few minutes interesting. However that was the closest the visitors got as Vancouver held on for a 3-2 win.
Ousted was huge making six saves in the win. Nick Rimando failed to make a single save for RSL.
The Whitecaps (12-9-5) return to action on Wednesday when they welcome Minnesota United to BC Place.
Real Salt Lake (10-14-5) saw a two-match winning run snapped with Saturday’s loss. RSL will play host to the Portland Timbers on Saturday.
MAN OF THE MATCH
David Ousted made six saves in the victory. The Danish keeper made a handful of late saves, which was key in preserving the win.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Ousted’s 55th-minute save on Justen Glad’s header, which saw him dive to stop the initial shot, then kick away the loose ball right after, kept the Whitecaps ahead of RSL.
MATCH TO FORGET
RSL playmaker Joao Plata failed to find the back of the net and was fairly quiet offensively. He recorded one shot on goal, but was unable to provide much for his team in terms of contribution.