Real Salt Lake Stuns Vancouver In MLS Opening Week

Feb 25, 2023, 10:34 PM | Updated: Feb 27, 2023, 12:15 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake secured its first victory of the 2023 MLS season following two second-half goals to come from behind on the road against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Captain Damir Kreilach returned to the starting XI after missing most of last season with a back injury, while Anderson Julio started at the point of the attack due to Rubio Rubin’s suspension.

The fixture proved troubling for Real Salt Lake early as they looked nervous and not up for the challenge of an MLS road game. Multiple errant passes put the away side under pressure. It was a different tale for the Vancouver Whitecaps, however, who looked comfortable at home and in front of their home fans.

It was the Whitecaps who capitalized on the early momentum when Javain Brown beat Justen Glad to the ball and put the ball into the back of the net from a corner kick. Goalkeeper Zac MacMath dove to his left and got a glove to the shot but was not able to keep the ball from trickling over the goal line.

Despite the nervous start, Real Salt Lake caught up to the tempo and speed of the game and looked to be the more aggressive team prior to the halftime interval.

“I think we had a pretty nervous start to the game on both sides of the ball this evening,” Mastroeni opened his post-game press conference stating.

A Tale Of Two Halves

The second half began in a different fashion to how the first began as Real Salt Lake looked determined and adamant to play in a more aggressive manner. Whitecaps goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka was under stress as Real Salt Lake peppered the away net.

The persistence paid off in the 70th minute when Maikel Chang’s cross found the lunging foot of Justen Glad who found space at the back post and was able to finally beat Takaoka to level the score.

Shortly thereafter, Kreilach received a pass from Savarino whose left-footed strike beat the outstretched arms of Takaoka and found the far corner of the net.

Remarkably, Real Salt Lake led with just 20 minutes remaining despite trailing for the vast majority of the game.

Mastroeni then introduced 20-year-old Colombian Andrés Gómez for the first time who replaced Maikel Chang. Danny Musovski then replaced a cramping Anderson Julio in the 79th while Justin Meram took over for Savarino on the left hand side of the attack.

Interestingly, Vancouver also introduced former RSL striker Sergio Córdova who was signed as a Designated Player by Vancouver earlier in the week.

The introduction of Córdova changed the dynamic of the game. Vancouver looked to play through their new number nine and utilize his size and speed to get in behind the Real Salt Lake defense.

Desperate defending by Real Salt Lake prevented any miracle for Vancouver and the away side was able to secure its first three points of 2023 in its first match.

It was the first victory for Real Salt Lake at BC Place since 2021.

Next week Real Salt Lake will remain on the road as they prepare to play the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, March 4th, with kickoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

  • Real Salt Lake Scoreboard

  • Real Salt Lake Team Leaders

  • Real Salt Lake Standings

Real Salt Lake

Tom Hackett

Real Salt Lake’s Latest Humiliation Leaves Fanbase Pondering

Real Salt Lake was humiliated by the MLS newcomers St. Louis City SC who remain the only undefeated club in the league. 
2 days ago
real salt lake st. louis city sc...
Chandler Holt

Real Salt Lake Falls To Red Hot St. Louis After Second Half Run

Real Salt Lake fell to undefeated St. Louis City at home by a score of 4-0 in the first ever match between the clubs.
3 days ago
Pablo Mastroeni - Real Salt Lake...
Tom Hackett

Desperate Real Salt Lake Hope To Dethrone St. Louis City SC

Real Salt Lake remains in Utah this weekend as they prepare to host undefeated MLS newcomers St. Louis City SC at America First Field.
4 days ago
Chandler Holt

RSL Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni Says Team Has That Dog In Them

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni joined KSL Sports Zone to talk about the upcoming match against St. Louis and the early bye week.
4 days ago
KSL Sports

Real Salt Lake Adds Draft Pick Emeka Eneli To First-Team Roster

Real Salt Lake announced the signing of defensive midfielder Emeka Eneli.
4 days ago
Richard Ledezma during soccer match...
KSL Sports

RSL Loans Richard Ledezma To New York City FC

Real Salt Lake announced they are loaning 2023 MLS rights to Richard Ledezma to New York City FC. 
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
Real Salt Lake Stuns Vancouver In MLS Opening Week