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Sandy • Burrito Martinez took the slightest of touches as he so often does that wiggled him a little more room. The next gave him a little bit more room. The final one sealed Vancouver's fate.
It froze Kendall Waston, and in that split-second Martinez had his corner picked out. So the Argentine playmaker used his right foot to curl a shot to the far post, around Waston, by Tim Parker and by the outstretched arms of David Ousted.
The man whose magical maneuvers on the ball have dropped jaws around Major League Soccer added his second career goal to his ongoing list of wizardry. Martinez's 55th-minute goal snapped Vancouver's six-game unbeaten streak against RSL that dated to Sept. 28, 2013, as RSL topped the Whitecaps 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
And, again, the man behind the goal was Joao Plata. The RSL striker recorded his fourth assist in his layoff to an onrushing Martinez in the Vancouver box. The Ecuadorian has had a hand in eight of RSL's first 10 goals of the 2016 season. If not for Parker's 82nd-minute goal-line clearance, Plata would've added another goal to his stellar start.
The Whitecaps entered Saturday's tilt with Real Salt Lake riding two streaks of opposite order: They hadn't lost to RSL since 2013, a six-game run that spanned the following two seasons. But the Whitecaps, the breakout team in the Western Conference a year ago, entered Saturday in a barren scoring patch.
It extended in Sandy. Vancouver's scoreless streak hit 337 straight minutes. The Whitecaps haven't scored from beyond the penalty spot since the season-opener on March 6.
The goal by Martinez quickly the anxiety that came a minute earlier when forward Yura Movsisyan hit the post off a low, driven cross by outside back Tony Beltran.
Aaron Maund completed a repeat heroic performance from a week ago, again preventing a goal by clearing a ball off the line. The RSL center back was forced to scurry to the back post in the ninth minute after Vancouver winger Cristian Techera fired a shot that deflected off goalkeeper Nick Rimando near the top of the box.
The ball spun toward the back post where Kekuta Manneh was hoping for a tap-in, but Maund was there to deflect the redirect wide of the post. That highlighted a frantic first 10 minutes for RSL as the Whitecaps figured out how to test RSL's high line by playing balls over the top.
Octavio Rivero had two chances to put the Whitecaps up, but fired a shot wide of the goal in the fifth minute and later saw Rimando save his 28th-minute attempt.
Once RSL settled down, the chances came.
None was more dangerous in the first half then Kyle Beckerman's delayed run into the box. Joao Plata played a ball back toward a streaking Beckerman, who took a slight touch to clear space but his shot on goal sailed high above the crossbar.