Real Salt Lake faces the Vancouver Whitecaps on the road at BC Place on Saturday August 11 at 5:00 PM MDT. RSL has been in uncharacteristically poor form on the road and even at home the last couple of months. With the final third of the MLS season underway and the race for the Supporters Shield, playoff positioning and home field advantage in full swing, it is imperative that RSL find their road form and get a result at Vancouver this weekend.
The Whitecaps have been resting comfortably at home since their loss to RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 27th. Conversely, RSL has been to Costa Rica for CONCACAF play and back, then to Colorado and back in the same period of time. The cards would seem to be stacked a bit in Vancouver’s favor in terms of travel and match congestion.
The Claret and Cobalt will have to grind out a result without the services of the speedy Center Back and Colombian International, Jamison Olave, who is out with a hamstring injury. Given the speed of attack that Vancouver will likely field with Darin Mattocks and Dane Richards, this will be no easy task for RSL. I suspect we will see Kenny Mansally start the match at Left Back as his speed offers some hope at containing the lethally quick Jamaican attacking duo.
The pitch at BC Place is artificial turf, a surface that has not been particularly favorable to the RSL brand of soccer in the past. They have however had better fortune at grinding out results on away turf fields this season.
The matchup of RSL vs. Vancouver at the RioT in July was one of the most exciting offensive fixtures I have seen in MLS this season. Both teams were very active on the attack. Real Salt Lake has struggled of late to create chances on goal but with a week off to get mentally and physically prepared, I think we will see more of the RSL style of possession based attacking football we all love to watch.
After leaving the RioT, the Whitecaps expressed they felt somewhat wronged by the officiating and that they deserved a result. No doubt, comfortably at home, Vancouver will be out for goals with some intense early offensive pressure in the match.
My starting 11 prediction will be as follows: GK Nick Rimando, DF Tony Beltran, DF Nat Borchers, DF Kwame Watson-Siriboe, DF Kenny Mansally, MF Captain Kyle Beckerman, MF Luis Gil, MF Will Johnson, MF Javier Morales, FW Alvaro Saborio, FW Fabian Espindola.
If RSL can find their midfield and offensive attacking form it should make for another very even and entertaining fixture. While Real Salt Lake really needs the 3 points on the road and the 6 point Western Conference swing, I believe we will see RSL grind out a result with a draw of 1 – 1. I think we will see Sabo get a goal on a header in the second half.
Be sure to support RSL and tune into the match on ABC 4 at 5:00PM on Saturday. Lets go RSL! Believe!
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