There's a song by the Gypsy Kings called Sin Ella. The first line is "te dare, el amor que no has tenido" or in English, "I'll give you the love that you've not had". Judging by Vancouver manger Carl Robinson's starting eleven, that song might have been playing through his head as well.
Mehdi Ballouchy earned his first start as a Whitecap, Darren Mattocks hadn't started since the last time the Caps played Real, Nicolás Mezquida's only starts had come in the Cup, and Omar Salgado, largely due to a number of injuries, hadn't started since 19 May 2012, a two goal draw with the Sounders.
Not surprisingly, David Ousted was chosen to Captain a line up that also included Steven Beitashour, Carlyle Mitchell, Johnny Leverón, Jordan Harvey, Gershon Koffie, and Sebastián Fernández. It was always going to be Ousted or Harvey, and considering how vocal Ousted is, it was a nice move to give him the armband.
Salt Lake started things early, as they did the last time Vancouver visited. In the third minute, Carlyle Mitchell incurred a free kick after an aggressive clearance of a Joao Plata ball. Javier Morales forced David Ousted into a sprawling save. Ousted would be forced into action a few more times in the early minutes.
In the 4th minute, Salt Lake had a penalty appeal, but it was never going to be given. The ball ricocheted off of Leverón’s left knee and onto Mitchell's right hand, but that kind of play perfectly illustrates the meaning of "ball to hand".
In the 25th minute, Beitashour was judged to have committed a foul on Javier Morales, though the Argentine made the most of it, going down with the lightest of touches. Fortunately, the free kick came to nothing, but earlier in the match, Beitashour had received similar treatment, stayed on his feet, and not been awarded a free kick. But that's life in the MLS.
Four minutes later, Plata tried to seize upon a miscommunication between Mitchell and Leverón, resulting in a one v one with the Honduran, but Johnny who managed to keep the diminutive Ecudorian under wraps.
Jordan Harvey aquitted himself well in his return to the eleven. Although Sam Adekugbe had done well in his stead, Harvey's class showed why he's been keeping the young Canadian out of the squad, like his run in the 32nd minute.
In the 35th minute, with Beitashour having already gotten rid of the ball, Javier Morales came in with a nasty elbow to the back of the Iranian international's head. Referee Edvin Jurisevic missed it, as the infraction with behind the play, but in our view, it should have been a straight red. Instead, there wasn't even a free kick.
Darren mattocks had a brilliant chance in the 37th minute, and Fernández followed it up with his own a minute later. Although both forwards put their shots wide of the mark, it was a promising display as the Vancouver attack created some incisive runs.
The 39th minute saw Javier Morales strike Mitchell's shoulder after a tumble saw both players go down to the left of the Vancouver goal. Jurisevic had a word with Morales about the incident, but didn't feel the strike was worth a card.
Shortly thereafter, Koffie took a shot from 35-yards out that dipped and curled, beating Nick Rimando, but not the post.
American international Kyle Beckerman caught Beitashour napping in the 47th minute, but his header went wide of the near post. And even if it had been on target, Ousted was in position to deal with the shot.
Omar Salgado was on the receiving end of what looked like a hip check by Tony Beltran in the 50th minute, but the penalty appeal was ignored by Jurisevic. We're not sure why. To Salgado's credit, he spent no time dwelling on the matter when he didn’t get the call.
Carlyle Mitchell had a scare in the 69th minute, as Robbie Findley turned his head away from goal, and towards the referee, wondering if he was going to be given a penalty kick. The amusing thing is that Findley looked to the referee in the middle of his fall. If that wasn't simulation worthy of a yellow card, we don't know what will ever be.
And then, the game turned on its head. Darren Mattocks was running at Nat Borchers, there were three other Salt Lake players closing in, though Mattocks had Fernández as a passing option. Many might have thought that Borchers had won the ball cleanly, but video replay revealed that his trailing leg made contact with Mattocks before his leading leg touched the ball. It was close, but it was a foul, it was in the box, and Jurisevic got the call right when he pointed to the spot. Mattocks confidently side footed the ball to the delight of the 13-or so Caps on Tour.
Shortly after, as the teams returned to their starting positions, Plata got involved in a scuffle with Fernández. Javier Morales and Beckerman joined in as Koffie and Mitchell came to Fernández's defence. Before long, Rimando seemed to be the only one who'd stayed behind, presumnably to console himself after letting in the goal.
No less than three officials were called into action to resolve the dispute. Javier Morales and Beckerman were the first to start shoving, and yet mysteriously, it was Matías Laba and Fernández who got the yellows.
A few more yellows would be handed out in the next few minutes, but then in the 81st minute, Joao Plata found space on the left side, striking with his left foot to level the game.
The 82nd minute saw a chance for Luke Mulholland that deflected off of Harvey’s right shoulder. Before the Salt Lake players could appeal for a penalty, the ball continued to bounce dangerously in the box.
The match finished with a flurry of chances, with both sides able to take the points, but in the end, it finished as it had begun, with both sides level. An away point is nothing to complain about, but the Caps could have done better. But then again, either by hook or by crook, the Caps came in with a largely second tier line up. And none of them looked out of place against the perennial Western Conference power.
On Saturday, the Caps will play host to FC Dallas, so get ready for some football, Texas style.