RSL battles Whitecaps to scoreless draw; playoffs next

Oct 27 2012 - 9:54pm

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(BEN BREWER/The Associated Press)
Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran takes a deep shot against Vancouver Whitecaps John Thorrington at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Saturday. RSL and the Whitecaps played to a 0-0 draw.
(BEN BREWER/The Associated Press)
Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran takes a deep shot against Vancouver Whitecaps John Thorrington at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Saturday. RSL and the Whitecaps played to a 0-0 draw.

SANDY -- And that's a wrap -- for now.

Real Salt Lake put the final touches on its 2012 regular season on Saturday night, finishing in a scoreless 0-0 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The result slid Salt Lake one point ahead of Seattle for home field advantage in their first-round Western Conference aggregate goal playoff series, with the Sounders set to take on Los Angeles tonight in the Home Depot Center. A Seattle loss means that Real would open up the series at CenturyLink Field on Nov. 3, and then host the Sounders in the second leg on Nov. 8.

If Seattle wins or ties, then the sites would reverse, but the dates would remain the same.

Despite his side having several things to play for on Saturday, Real Salt Lake boss Jason Kreis elected to rest several key players for the league finale, giving them time to rest up and prepare for what will surely be a grueling series against Seattle.

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando, midfielder Javier Morales, central defenders Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave, and midfielder Will Johnson didn't make their tradition starts, although Johnson entered as a late substitute and played 13 minutes.

Statistically, Real dominated the match, but came away with the point only due to a bit of luck when Vancouver's Darren Mattocks was ruled offside after scoring what looked like the go-ahead goal on a free kick midway through the second half. Mattocks slid in front of the RSL defense just before the kick was taken.

Salt Lake outshot the visitors 17-5, but placed just three shots on target as neither goalkeeper had much to do during the night. RSL also finished with a 62.7 percent possession advantage and made 514 total passes, completing 85 percent of them.

It was the third straight match, across all competitions, that Real has failed to score a goal and finished in a 0-0 draw.

"We need to be sharper around the goal; we're making some curious decisions," Kreis said. "I choose to look at the glass as half-full. We aren't giving up goals either."

Real did make a bit of team history with the draw, as the 57 points are a new franchise high for the eight-year old Utah side.

* EARTHQUAKES 1, TIMBERS 1: At Portland, Ore., Chris Wondolowski tied the MLS single-season record with his 27th goal and the San Jose Earthquakes wrapped up the regular season with a draw against the Portland Timbers.

Wondolowski scored in the 24th minute, matching the record set by Roy Lassiter of Tampa Bay in 1996. The 29-year-old forward booted a penalty kick into the lower left corner of the net after Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was whistled for taking out Steven Lenhart in a race to secure the ball.

San Jose (19-6-9) has already secured its second Supporters' Shield and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Timbers (8-16-10) appeared to be going down to defeat in the cold, steady drizzle until Bright Dike scored his fifth goal in the 67th minute to tie the score and put some life into the Portland attack.

* RAPIDS 2, DYNAMO 0: At Commerce City, Colo., Kamani Hill and Andre Akpan scored to help the Colorado Rapids beat the playoff-bound Houston Dynamo.

Colorado (11-19-4) finished one of the worst campaigns in franchise history with only its second two-game winning streak of the year. The Rapids were 3-5-3 in their last 11 games.

Goalkeeper Steward Ceus posted his second shutout in his second career MLS start.

Houston (14-9-11) had already rapped up fifth place in the Eastern Conference and its sixth playoff appearance in seven years. The Dynamo will play Chicago in the wild-card game Wednesday night in Chicago.

* D.C. UNITED 1, FIRE 1: At Bridgeview, Ill., Lionard Pajoy scored in the 50th minute, and Bill Hamid made eight saves to help D.C. United rally for a tie with Chicago.

The draw gave D.C. second place in the Eastern Conference.

United (17-10-7) went 5-0-2 in its last seven matches to finish with 58 points, one more than New York and Chicago (17-11-6). New York finished third, ahead of fourth-place Chicago, on a tiebreaker.

With New York beating Philadelphia earlier in the day, the Fire needed to beat D.C. to avoid playing in the first-round one-game elimination round.

Instead, Chicago will host fifth-place Houston in that game. It will be played either Wednesday or Thursday. The winner plays Eastern Conference champion Kansas City in the second round.

Patrick Nyarko scored for Chicago in the 16th minute.

* RED BULLS 3, UNION 0: At Chester, Pa., Kenny Cooper scored twice, and Thierry Henry added a goal for New York.

The Red Bulls (16-9-9) reached the playoffs for the third straight year, and the ninth time in 10 seasons. New York won all three matches this season against the Union (10-18-6), who lost their final three games and will miss the postseason for the second time in three years.

Cooper scored on a penalty kick in the 13th minute after Tim Cahill was taken down by defender Carlos Valdes in the box a minute earlier. Henry scored his 15th goal to make it 2-0 in the 35th minute.

Cooper added his team-leading 18th goal -- and fifth against Philadelphia this season -- in the 66th minute.

* REVOLUTION 1, IMPACT 0: At Montreal, A.J. Soares scored in the 89th minute to lift New England past Montreal.

Soares was inside the box to head Chris Tierney's free kick past the reach of goalkeeper Troy Perkins for an unsatisfying end to a game the Impact mostly dominated.

The Revolution (9-17-8) ended a 13-game winless run in road matches and won for the first time in Canada soil, having previously gone 0-5-3 in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The Impact finished the season 12-16-6.

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