Where: Rio Tinto Stadium. Sandy, UT
When: 6:30 PM PT, Saturday, Apr. 8
How: TV - TSN 4/5, Radio – TSN 1410
The Vancouver Whitecaps return to MLS action Saturday on the road against Real Salt Lake. VWFC bring their 1W-2L-1D record to clash with RSL’s 0W-3L-1D record. RSL is one of three teams yet to win a game in MLS this season. The ‘Caps may have turned a corner from their slow start in March with a well earned win against LA last weekend and a respectable showing against Tigres that saw them eliminated from the CCL semi-finals on Wednesday evening.
They may have turned the corner, but with this being the third game in eight days we will likely see a radically different starting eleven. Brek Shea’s injury suffered on Wednesday looks to have him out for at least a couple of months. Combined with the Manneh trade and Hurtado’s injury the only strikers left are Montero and Kyle Greig. We will likely see Greig at some point. Does he start over Montero? Hurtado’s injury at halftime against LA has meant Fredy has played a lot of football already this week.
Changes are sure to be found all over the pitch. This game is screaming for Mauro Rosales’ return after he was resigned from Dallas in the preseason. Will this be Tchani’s first start? I expect to see Teibert back in the mix. Does Davies finally get the rest Robbo had meant for him? And Techera has run miles the last two games, will he get yet another run at altitude? We will probably see Mezquida back in the line-up, maybe De Jong. And does Bustos finally get first team minutes?
Rio Tinto Stadium has not been friendly to the ‘Caps as they have only won once, lost four times and collected 3 draws. However, RSL is currently on a twelve game winless streak that goes back to Aug. 26 of last season. RSL is still smarting from a soul wracking 4-2 loss that handed Minnesota their first win in MLS. The loss was especially humbling, as the Loons had been losing games by huge margins. Hence, the arrival of Mike Petke as head coach and his RSL debut against the ‘Caps. RSL should be hungry for a win and hungry to impress their new coach. Petke and Robinson coached together at NYRB and know each other well.
The ‘Caps recent return to form and RSL’s continuing struggles makes this seem like a very winnable game. But, at the end of a very busy week, just what Whitecaps team will walk out on the pitch?