There are points earned by late goals and there are points earned by late goals.
Some are of the “How on earth did we come away from this game with anything?” variety and some are of the “That felt like it has been coming” variety.
And Julian Gressel’s late goal to earn a 1-1 tie with Real Salt Lake was very much of the latter variety.
This was comfortably one of Vancouver’s better road performances. Willing to be on the front foot from the get go and trading chances with Salt Lake without ever looking as though the thought of a low block had even entered their heads.
Cavallini had one of his better games, Cubas was Cubas, and Ryan Raposo looked a constant threat from the left until Sartini moved him to the right.
Moving players around was very much a feature of the night with Gressel playing in (by my calculations) fifteen different positions.
The fact that the goal came from Gauld, playing in the wing back position, crossing to Gressel, playing as the forward, is probably a good indication that the Whitecaps were either playing a very fluid formation or just throwing stuff at the wall to see if it stick.
A hugely positive outing for Thomas Hasal too as the keeper looked to have refound any confidence that may have gone astray during his long absence.
The only real downside was another awful outing from Cristian Dajome.
There have been games in recent seasons where Dajome has carried the team on his back but this year for whatever reason, enforced absences, lack of confidence, too much time in too many different roles, he looks to be the epitome of a player who is really hoping that the ball doesn’t come his way.
A longer break for the Whitecaps to reboot now with the playoffs looking a lot more likely then they were even two short weeks ago.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!
Hasal-6.5*, Dajome-1, Raposo-5.5, Nerwinski-5.5, Veselinovic-5.5, Blackmon-5.5, Cubas-6.5, Teibert-5.5, Gauld-5.5, Schopf-4, Cavallini-5.5 (Berghalter-5, White-4.5, Gressel-6)