RSL beat Whitecaps on controversial penalty
Albert Rusnak's penalty in the 21st minute was the difference
Albert Rusnak converted a penalty kick in the 21st minute as Real Salt Lake won its home opener with a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night in Sandy, Utah.
Nick Rimando made five saves for Real Salt Lake (1-0-1), which boasted the best home record in Major League Soccer last season with an 11-2-4 mark. The win was the club's fourth in a row versus Vancouver at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Maxime Crepeau turned aside five shots for the Whitecaps (0-2-0), who are still looking to give new coach Marc Dos Santos his first victory with the franchise.
Real Salt Lake opened the scoring after 2018 MLS Rookie of the Year Corey Baird was deemed to have been tripped by Vancouver's Jakob Nerwinski inside the penalty area. Replays, however, showed Baird appeared to have stumbled on his own accord before heading to the ground.
Rusnak, who scored in last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Houston, made the Whitecaps pay by unleashing a right-footed shot into the top right corner of the net.
WATCH | Rusnak salts away the win for RSL:
The penalty kick was the second allowed this season for Vancouver, which surrendered a league-high nine in 2018.
Rusnak nearly doubled the advantage in the 64th minute, however his apparent goal was negated after he was ruled offside after accepting a through ball from Jefferson Savarino.
The Whitecaps nearly forged a tie four minutes later, but Doneil Henry's header from the center of the box was denied by Rimando.
Vancouver also threatened early as In-Beom Hwang's pass from midfield caught Andy Rose in stride, causing Rimando to come off his line and force a corner kick.
The Whitecaps nearly forged a tie in the 53rd minute as Lucas Venuto stole the ball from Aaron Herrera and set up Yordy Reyna, whose right-footed shot from just outside the box sailed wide of the net.