Real Salt Lake 2, Whitecaps 1: Mile-high heartbreak for road-weary Vancouver side

Two video reviews go against the Whitecaps, as they fall to Salt Lake in a tight Western Conference battle

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It’s not over until it’s over. And even when it’s over, it’s still not over. You follow?

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The whistle had blown at America First Field to signal the end of the game between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Real Salt Lake, with the Caps looking like it was going to be a 2-1 defeat in Sandy, Utah.

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It ended that way, but not after some made-for-TV drama.

Ryan Gauld’s 101st minute shot caromed off the arm of a RSL defender, and there was life when referee Malik Badawi went to the sideline screen to review. Sam Adekugbe, watching over his shoulder, thought it was a goal — he earned a yellow card for his spying — but Badawi didn’t in the end, waving off the penalty shot.

Gauld
Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Ryan Gauld in July, 2023. Photo by Ryan Sun Ryan Sun /AP

With five minutes left in regulation, it appeared that Brian White’s header had gotten past former Caps keeper Zac MacMath, but a lengthy review couldn’t find any conclusive angles of it crossing the line.

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It’s a good thing the Whitecaps have a game in hand on the teams in front of them, because they lost a game they had in hand. You follow?

After White turned in a Gauld corner kick in the 17th minute, the game was firmly in Vancouver’s control until Yohei Takaoka gave up a stunning free kick goal from Brayan Vera two minutes into the second half.

A Justen Glad header off a corner kick in the 65th minute would up as the winner.

The Caps (11-10-8) dropped to sixth in the standings, as RSL (12-11-7) leapfrogged them into fifth in the West.

Aside from the VAR chances, Vancouver had their opportunities to tie in the game’s final minutes, with Ryan Gauld putting one just wide, and Simon Becher doing the same.

Since May 31, no one in MLS play has had more goal contributions than Gauld (10 goals, nine assists). He now has 22 (11 goals and 11 assists) in his past 17 appearances.

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