RSL / Whitecaps Game Intro
The Whitecaps are coming off a rare extended break during the regular season, as they prepare to host Real Salt Lake on the back end of a home and home series. Last time out Real stole a 2-1 victory, only conceding a late goal to the dynamic Darren Mattocks.
A win is crucial for the Whitecaps if they wish to continue to hold off the hard charging LA Galaxy who lurk a point behind, though the ‘Caps do have another game in hand.
Real Salt Lake
The Utah based team is currently ranked as the second best team in MLS, and their 42 point total is only exceeded by the Earthquakes squad of San Jose. Costa Rican forward Alvaro Saborio led the way last time out with both goals taken neatly against Vancouver including the opening PK.
He will bear watching of course, but this Real team is keyed by their very strong midfield including captain Kyle Beckerman of the US, Argentinian Javier Morales and Canadian Will Johnson.
The unit provides impressive leadership, skill and energy respectively and provides a strong spine that lends offensive as well as defensive support.
In my last article the focus was on the absolute necessity of the Whitecaps using the two week break to focus on familiarizing the team’s recent acquisitions with the whole squad.
Jamaican MF/FW Dane Richards, Scottish striker Kenny Miller and Irish defender Andy O’Brien had come into the fold and needed time to acclimatize themselves with the time zone change and team philosophy.
That concern was compounded and raised yet again with the August 4th signing of young Brazilian holding midfielder Tiago Ulisses.
It is a real risk to have so much turmoil amidst the shifts in personnel and it will require a steady, clear hand from Coach Martin Rennie to steer this ship right as the regular season enters its final phase.
O’Brien has plenty of Premier League and Irish national team experience and his signing may prove most valuable, as he will provide immediate competition for places especially with Argentinian centre back Martin Bonjour, whose inconsistency has not proved an ideal counterpart to the All-star worthy seasons put up by Jay DeMerit and YP Lee.
The excitement of the Canadian women’s team’s bronze performance in London has raised interest even higher in soccer on the west coast and could provide an extra spark in the fan support at BC Place.
However, there will be some teething problems with the new look Whitecaps team, so expect an exciting but error strewn match Saturday evening in Vancouver.
Vancouver will come out with a 2-2 draw.
Whitecaps FC Head Coach Martin Rennie comments after training fro RSL.