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Real Salt Lake, Vancouver Whitecaps tie 0-0

AP - Sports

SANDY, Utah (AP) -- Creating life on offense has been a chore for Real Salt Lake recently. The defense has had no such trouble playing at an elite level.

Salt Lake played to a 0-0 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night and made a little bit of history along the way in the regular-season finale.

RSL (17-11-6) became just the second MLS team to not allow a goal in the first 15 minutes of any regular-season match when it held Vancouver (11-13-10) scoreless. Houston also accomplished the feat in 2009.

Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis is convinced his team is on the right track to find answers on offense. The defense is certainly at a playoff level already after allowing Vancouver just a single shot on goal.

''I'm going to take the glass half-full approach for sure,'' Kreis said. ''For me if just a little thing here or there is better, we don't have three ties in a row Those matches are three wins.''

Vancouver also took away a positive outlook from holding down Salt Lake offensively in both halves. RSL controlled possession 69 percent of the time in the first half and 57 percent of the time in the second half. It managed three shots on goal, however, and never found a consistent rhythm against the Whitecaps.

''Anytime you get a clean sheet it's a momentum thing,'' Vancouver defender Jay DeMerit said. ''This is a tough place to play and they score a lot of goals at home. For us to keep a clean sheet against a good team away from home - that's a good result for us.''

Both offenses were listless for much of the half, but stepped up the attack in the closing minutes before halftime. Vancouver had a golden chance to strike first when Alain Rochat put a left-footer perfectly on frame in the 37th minute. RSL keeper Kyle Reynish made a leaping save to deny the goal.

RSL had a near miss of its own in the 38th minute. Alvaro Saborio curled in a left-footer from the left side of the box. Whitecaps keeper Brad Knighton barely tipped the shot away to prevent a goal and set up a well-defended corner kick.

Vancouver blew another chance to take a lead in the 57th minute. Rochat played a through ball perfectly to Darren Mattocks by the left post. Mattocks tapped it in for an apparent goal, but it was waved off because Mattocks was ruled offside.

Salt Lake's best chances came in the 69th minute when Luis Gil could not sneak a right-footer from distance past Knighton and in the 72nd minute when Steele was denied by Knighton after trying to put it in from the center of the box.

The scoring drought can't continue for RSL if it hopes to make a serious run at winning its first MLS Cup since 2009.

''If we can't fix it, we better practice penalty kicks,'' Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman said.

Both teams qualified for the playoffs. It is an especially sweet result for Vancouver because the Whitecaps have won just once in their last 10 matches.

''Many of the goals we set out to achieve this season, we have achieved,'' Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie said. ''We're always hungry for more, so we get disappointed when we don't do more. But, at the same time, we've got to be very pleased with what we have achieved this year so far.''

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