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Match Preview: Real Salt Lake at Vancouver Whitecaps

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MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at San Jose Earthquakes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Match Information

Teams: Real Salt Lake vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Location: Providence Park, Portland

Date and Time: September 27th, 10:00 pm EST, 7:00 pm PST

Watching: TSN (in Canada) & MLS Live on ESPN+ (in US); Radio: TSN 1040

What to expect

Well, if anyone actually knows what to expect when our beloved boys in (a hoop of) blue, let me know. This team seems to have a different personality, formation and lineup in just about every match they’ve played this year - and not in a particularly fun way.

The last time these two teams played, the Montero-Cavallini connection was born, with the pair connecting on the eventual winner, giving us a glimmer of hope for the rest of the season. Four losses in a row later, that hope has been dashed, and replaced by a healthy dose of apathy.

But here we are, and here I am writing the pre match report, the report that is released before the match... in this case, the match is Vancouver vs. Salt Lake. That’s the Vancouver Whitecaps, vs. Real Salt Lake. Can you tell I’m vamping here?

Sitting three points above Vancouver, Real Salt Lake are having themselves a bit of a rough season, also losing four out of their past six matches. To rub salt in the wounds, they’ll be without both Albert Rusnak (int’l duty) and Nedum Onuoha (undisclosed injury), making it harder to score, as well as stopping the other team from doing so - vital stuff.

The Whitecaps will be without Andy Rose (suspension) Maxime Crepeau (fractured thumb), Thomas Hasal (tibia stress fracture), Cristian Gutierrez (not medically cleared), but will have Erik Godoy available for selection, after having his red card rescinded Friday.

Expect the Whitecaps to start both Montero and Cavallini, with a lineup designed to keep more possession than against stronger teams. After ending the last game with nine men, you can almost smell the makeup calls on the horizon. The Caps do have home field advantage, after all…

Carl Robinson famously described certain matches as “banana peels”, when they were on decent runs of form and played a weaker team. There was always the chance of “slipping”, and being caught off-guard. This would be the complete opposite of that - a real chance, with low expectations, to right the ship in a match against a weaker team that is still favored to win. How fun is that?!

My predicted starting eleven comes with the caveat of the lineup potentially coming as a surprise. Could this be the debut of Gianfranco Facchineri? Will Metcalfe or Raposo see more than 30 seconds of action? Will Cornelius get the chance at redemption if he starts in place of Ali Adnan?

Predicted Starting XI

Meredith

Adnan—Godoy—Cornelius—Nerwinski

Baldisimo—Bikel

Milinkovic—Montero—Bair

Cavallini

Prediction

Unlike most matchups, I think the Whitecaps are the better team, and if Cavallini and Montero start together we could see some more fireworks. Predicting a 3-1 victory for the good guys. In case you forgot, that’s the Whitecaps.


If you want to dive deeper into the matchup, you can also check out “The Third Sub Podcast” with Sam Rowan and Between the Sticks’ Alex G-R. This week, they hosted Ian Knighton from RSL Soapbox, and discussed everything from RSL’s form, to youth development, MLS officiating secrets, and how these two teams will matchup Saturday.

(Apple Podcasts Link)