Real Salt Lake 2, Whitecaps FC 0

Switching from midfielder to forward has taken some adjustment

for Jean Alexandre. Even though he played up top at Lynn

University, readapting his body to the movement demanded by the

position has taken time.

”I got to get used to making runs versus shuffling back and

forth for the ball like I’m playing center mid,” Alexandre said.

”I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Alexandre took a major step forward as a forward on Saturday

night. He scored his first career MLS goal and tallied his first

career assist to lead Real Salt Lake to a 2-0 victory over the

Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium.

When Alexandre visualized scoring his first MLS goal, it always

played out the same way in his mind. Alexandre saw himself getting

his head on the ball and bouncing it into the net to finish off a

scrappy play.

How it actually played out was a thing of beauty. He took a

one-touch pass from Kyle Beckerman in the 32nd minute and drew out

Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon as he dribbled the ball toward the

left post. Alexandre sliced a shot past Cannon securely inside the

post.

”It was a world class pass,” Alexandre said. ”It took me by

surprise. It took everybody by surprise because that pass was very

difficult to make.”

In the 79th minute, Alexandre got his chance to make the pass

that counted. He set up Fabian Espindola outside the box, and he

overcame Cannon’s challenge and blasted the ball past him.

Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis praised Espindola for showing

his best form since the preseason. He said the veteran forward has

been making every effort to be the sort of playmaker the team needs

with Javier Morales on the sidelines.

”He’s taking probably a few more risks than typical and I think

he’s doing that because he knows somebody has got to make a

difference right now for us,” Kreis said.

Espindola was relieved to finally break a personal scoring

drought.

”I put everything I have into games,” he said. ”It’s good

when you score and help the team.”

Vancouver hasn’t won in 13 games since taking its first MLS game

against Toronto FC. Salt Lake made sure the Whitecaps did not

finally obtain three points at their expense by outplaying them on

both ends of the field.

Real Salt Lake created 24 shots and put eight of those on goal;

Vancouver managed just six shots. The most impressive part of that

effort is that Salt Lake did it after suiting up just 17 players –

one short of a full 18-man roster – because of injuries and

national team call-ups.

”After losing to Seattle last weekend, we knew we had something

to prove this weekend,” defender Nat Borchers said. ”We knew we

had to come out and prove ourselves again to the fans, make a

statement to the league and get those three points.”