MLS Snapshot: Whitecaps outlast RSL to go 3rd in jumbled West

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): Someone’s going to finish top of the Western Conference this season. By the competition rules of MLS, someone will finish the 34-game regular season in first place. No one’s saying the team to do so will be a “good” team, or whatsoever a threat to take MLS Cup from Toronto FC the Eastern Conference winner. Who knows, it might even be the Vancouver Whitecaps, who at no point during their entire existence the last two or three seasons have looked capable of stringing together three consecutive quality performances and establishing themselves as legitimate contenders. The first two-thirds of the 2017 season were merely more of the same for Carl Robinson’s side, with one gigantic exception: the West is extremely not-good this year. Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Real Salt Lake sends Vancouver third in the West, three points back of the Portland Timbers with three games in hand.

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Three Four Five moments that mattered

29′ — Techera turns it in, past a flailing Rimando — Nick Rimando spent the last decade becoming/being the greatest goalkeeper in MLS history, but we all know Father Time is undefeated. We’ve seen him make this pretty routine save probably 300 times in his career. This time, he couldn’t get anywhere near it.

37′ — Ousted caught in two minds, tips ball into his own net — It’s tough to fault David Ousted here, as Yura Movsisyan presents the impossible choice of playing the cross or waiting for the impending header. So impossible, in fact, it’s tough to credit the goal to Movsisyan or Chris Wingert.

52′ — Waston slams home a rebound off the post — No one wants to see Rimando go out like this. I hate seeing it, you hate seeing it, everyone hates it. Heck of a finish from Kendall Waston, who’s not exactly the most composed player the world has ever seen.

55′ — Ousted makes a stunning, diving save — Justen Glad got up and get plenty of power on his header, but Ousted was eager to redeem his earlier blunder.

64′ — Reyna’s diving-missile header beats Rimando for 3-1 — There’s something so satisfying about a player flinging his entire body, head-first, at the ball and watching the back of the net bulge immediately thereafter.

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Man of the match: Bernie Ibini-Isei

Goalscorers: Techera (29′), Wingert (37′), Waston (52′), Reyna (64′), Beltran (83′)