That was as much disappointment as Jay DeMerit would allow on Friday following the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
But it’s hard not to imagine the sting of defeat wasn’t a little stronger, considering how evenly the Whitecaps played against one of the best home teams in the league.
"I think we had enough chances to tie, and possibly win," DeMerit said after Vancouver’s fourth consecutive road game without a victory. "Sometimes things don’t bounce your way up front, and in the back we made a couple of individual errors."
With the loss, Vancouver (9-7-7) remains in third place in the Western Conference but falls six points behind second-place Salt Lake (13-7-3).
Alvaro Saborio scored once in each half and Vancouver played the final 19 minutes a man short because of a red card to goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
The biggest bad bounce set up a penalty kick and Saborio’s first goal in the 34th minute, after DeMerit handled the ball in the box.
DeMerit appeared to be nudged by Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman, which forced his hands into the air.
"Obviously, I don’t go up with my hands up, so I kind of got hip-checked a little bit," said DeMerit, who played his eighth game in 24 days, including Wednesday’s MLS all-star game. "My hand came up and hit the ball. I thought maybe [the referee] could have called him stepping into me, but, no call."
The Whitecaps evened the score in the 52nd minute when Darren Mattocks got past Nat Borchers and raced wide of Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando to convert into an empty net.
Mattocks' seventh goal of the season ended Salt Lake’s home shutout streak at 327 minutes, which had spanned over three games.
The tally also ignited a rapid-fire stretch which saw the Whitecaps pepper Rimando with shots. After managing just one shot in the second half, Vancouver tallied four in a five-minute stretch.
"We had, like two, three, four chances," Mattock said. "That’s when we should have advantage because it’s going to be tough on the road sometimes. Unfortunately, we didn’t."
The momentum shifted quickly when Saborio headed a shot past Cannon in the 58th minute. It was Saborio’s sixth goal in five games and his 13th of the season, tied for second-most in MLS. San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski has 17 goals.
In the 76th minute, Cannon was sent off for handling outside the box after making a diving stop against Fabian Espindola. Cannon was trying to outrace Espindola to a soft backward pass from Dane Richards.
Real Salt Lake extended its home unbeaten streak to four games and won for the ninth time at home this season, a league high.
"We had lots of chances against a good team away from home," Vancouver coach Martin Rennie said. "It’s frustrating that we didn’t take those chances. If we had, we would have gotten a better result.
"We created enough to win the game."