First things first; if you're looking for a great read about some recent history between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Real Salt Lake, look no further than Rob Scott's work, which was published recently. Dude knows what he's talking about.
Now that I've successfully managed to promote a blog within a blog (woah), here is the highly anticipated match report, for Tomorrow's clash between the Vancouver Whitecaps, and the visiting Real Salt Lake.
One measly point in three matches; not exactly inspiring. However, the Vancouver Whitecaps are probably feeling a little bit better as they head home to BC Place to take on Real Salt Lake. For as bad as they are on the road, the Whitecaps are very solid on home turf, winning their first two this season. For anybody interested, they hold an impressive 10-3-6 home record in two (and a little bit of a third) seasons.
However, just because they're lacing up their boots in Vancouver doesn't mean this is going to be a cake walk. They're playing a very tough Real Salt Lake team that's coming off a tough 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids. RSL will want to make amends for the upset, and they'd love to prove they've still got it on the road against a good home squad. It's also an early Conference battle, as the Whitecaps are currently one spot ahead of RSL in the standings.
I've seen this story before...
Last week it was Chris Wondolowski, this week, it's Alvaro Saborio. Yes, the perennial double digit goal scorer might not play in this contest due to knee swelling, but if he does, he could cause fits for the 'Caps backline, much like Wondo did just under a week ago. Brad Rusin has taken some heat in the media this week for his inability to contain the dynamic striker, and he could be in for plenty more headaches if Saborio does lace them up. Sure, the Whitecaps are a different beast at home, but they're also a much different squad without Captain Jay Demerit in the lineup.
Those who fail to learn history...
Camilo has had some success against Real Salt Lake, scoring three times in two contests. He hasn't played much this season, but his past accomplishments might make Martin Rennie insert him into the starting 11, especially given how putrid the attack looked last week against the San Jose Earthquake. Kenny Miller is questionable for the match, which means he's 99% not starting at the very least. With Darren Mattocks not playing at all last week, Rennie will probably look to insert him into the lineup, which means we could see Erik Hurtado and Corey Hertzog taken out. If Miller does somehow start the match, expect Camilo to get plenty of time on the bench. Also, how about former RSL member Paulo Jr, who spent the better part of three seasons with the club? We haven't seen him much at all this season, but perhaps his familiarity with the club could get him some pitch time.
RSL could get a boost...
Javier Morales might just make his first start for RSL, a huge addition to the squad given his 47 career assists. Morales had off-season knee surgery, but has seen substitution time for the last two matches. In an incredibly ironic twist for Whitecaps fans, Morales has said he might not be able to go because of BC Place's infamous turf, which could be too hard for his knee. Yes, the turf we all turn our noses up at might take a talented player out of RSL's starting lineup; is anyone now a fan of it? (Didn't think so)
I'm going out on a limb here, but I do think the starting 11 will look different than last week's. Have a look, and then rip me apart in the comments.
Goalkeeping: Pretty easy explanation here; Joe Cannon gets the start after playing lights out versus the San Jose Earthquake. He was easily the 'Caps best player last week, and he deserves another start.
Backline: The trio of Lee,O'Brien and Rochat have played fine, although Rochat had a rough game last week. That being said, the weak link here is Brad Rusin, who has to show that he can play consistent soccer. Locking down the defensive side of the pitch with his fellow defenders would be a good start.
Mid: Gershon Koffie should get back into his usual starting spot after sitting against the 'Quakes; he's far too talented to sit on the bench, and he's played relatively well this season. Same goes for Nigel Reo-Coker and Daigo Kobayashi, although I'm sure everyone would like to see the same magic we saw against Toronto FC. Camilo's past success against RSL lands him a starting spot in my lineup.
Striker: After not playing last week, Darren Mattocks should be well rested and hungry to score. We expect big things from him every week, but Mattocks should provide veteran keeper Nick Rimando with a few headaches.