The Vancouver Whitecaps haven't won a match in six straight contests. They've played better as of late, especially in their last league match, but the results just aren't coming. However, they've got momentum, and they're taking on an Real Salt Lake club that is in pretty bad shape. They've been fighting injuries and inconsistent play all season long, and now their arguably best player in Alvaro Saborio will have to sit for several weeks with a quad problem. It leaves a gaping hole in their lineup, and while they can't be counted out completely, a loss from the Whitecaps tonight would surely be looked upon as a major disappointment.
The caveat; The 'Caps are on the road to play this match, and I think we all know how successful the 'Caps have been away from the confines of BC Place. (hint: They haven't been) Bottom line: Anything could happen tonight, and what does unfold will surely be a prime example of the Whitecaps entire season. Either they will rise to the challenge set before them and get something positive going here, or they'll sag again and watch another winnable match slip through their fingers.
I got the lineup wrong but the result right in my last match preview, so I'm feeling lucky.
Lee-Rusin-Leveron-Rochat. It's just a wild assumption, but Andy O'Brien has to rest sometime, right? I was positive Head Coach Martin Rennie would give the dude a break in the Edmonton match, but an apparent injury to Rusin negated that. So, I've inserted Johnny Leveron into the lineup in the hopes that O'Brien will be able to relax for a change.
Davidson takes his usual defensive mid role, with Nigel Reo-Coker and Gershon Koffie taking their usual spots. I'd also sit Daigo Kobayashi in favor of Russell Teibert, who deserves a chance to build off his impressive outing against Edmonton.
Up front, Camilo should get another start, as he really has been the most consistent offensive player on the 'Caps this year. Darren Mattocks also should get more opportunities to bust his slump, although Rennie should be ready to insert Kekuta Manneh if Mattocks continues to struggle. Further, how about Tom Heinemann? I think he's been very good for the Whitecaps this season, although he may be better suited to come off the bench, when his strength and physicality can really do damage on some tired players.
An undermanned RSL squad taking on an improving Whitecaps team should give the 'Caps the advantage, but it's a road match. Anything could happen, but I'm betting the 'Caps help us forget the Canucks game last night.