Preview: RSL host Whitecaps in Western Conf. showdown
REAL SALT LAKE vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
July 27, 2012 (WEEK 21, MLS Game #197)
9 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. MT (KUCW-30; City TV Van)
Real Salt Lake continue their homestand with a vital match in the Western Conference, as Vancouver Whitecaps FC come calling for a Friday night contest at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real sit in second place in the West after a 2-0 defeat of the Colorado Rapids at home last weekend. Whitecaps FC are just behind RSL in the divisional table, coming off a 2-1 home win against the Western-leading San Jose Earthquakes last weekend.
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. SAR (bench): Jason Callum; JAR (opposite): Jonathan Johnson; 4th: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 226 games; FC/gm: 25.6; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 58; pens: 47
- REAL SALT LAKE -- OUT: DF Chris Schuler (L foot bone stress response); GK Lalo Fernandez (R wrist stress fracture); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jamison Olave (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: MF Ned Grabavoy (L knee MCL strain); DF Nat Borchers (L quadriceps strain); FW Fabian Espindola (R ankle sprain)
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Omar Salgado (R foot fracture); QUESTIONABLE: MF John Thorrington (R quad strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: RSL: Jonny Steele (caution accumulation; through July 29)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL:Jamison Olave, Alvaro Saborio...VAN: Gershon Koffie, Martin Bonjour
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:RSL: Fabian Espindola, Will Johnson, Javier Morales, Chris Wingert...VAN: Darren Mattocks
ALL-TIME (2 meetings):Real Salt Lake 1 win, 2 goals... Whitecaps FC 1 win, 3 goals...Ties 0
AT SALT LAKE (1 meeting): Real Salt Lake 1 win, 2 goals … Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
RETURN MATCHES: 8/11: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 4 p.m. PT; 10/27: Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7 p.m. MT
LAST YEAR (MLS)
6/4: RSL 2, VAN 0 (Alexandre 32; Espindola 79)
10/6: VAN 3, RSL 0 (Camilo 44, 53; Khalfan 88)
- The teams split their two meetings in Whitecaps FC’s inaugural MLS season. RSL won 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium, while Vancouver won 3-0 at BC Place in a match postponed from Empire Field because of a waterlogged pitch.
- Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. VAN: P2 W1 L1 D0 … Martin Rennie vs. RSL: first game
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake returned home and rebounded from a big loss, recording a 2-0 win against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real sit in second place in the Western Conference with 39 points from 22 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: RSL v COL
- RSL took the lead in the 32nd minute. Fabian Espindola deflected a Matt Pickens clearance from a slow back pass, sending the ball back toward the goalmouth. When he realized the ball wouldn't cross the line on its own, Alvaro Saborio tapped it in.
- Real finally put the game away in the final minute of regulation time. Saborio knocked the ball away from an unsuspecting defender and hit it ahead to a streaking Will Johnson, who clinically finished into the lower-left corner from just inside the penalty area.
- RSL head coach Jason Kreis made four changes to the team that fell to a 5-0 decision to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Tony Beltran and Nat Borchers came into the midfield for Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Kenny Mansally, and Ned Grabavoy and Yordany Alvarez came into the midfield for Luis Gil and the suspended Kyle Beckerman.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave (Kwame Watson-Siriboe 63), Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Yordany Alvarez, Will Johnson - Javier Morales - Fabian Espindola (Jonny Steele 77), Alvaro Saborio.
- While RSL have conceded 12 goals over the last seven games, they have recorded clean sheets in three of their last four.
- “I think that it’s a step in the right direction, but honestly we had a very good result two weeks ago didn’t we?” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “And we came out and got our butts handed to us so I think it’s going to be very important for the guys to remember that we need to stay humble about remember what it takes to get results and if we don’t do that we won’t get results and when we do that, we will get results.”
- Real last allowed a goal in a game at Rio Tinto on June 23 vs. San Jose in the 84th minute, a run of 276 minutes since an opposing team last scored in Sandy.
- Alvaro Saborio had a string of four consecutive goals scored for Real, a hat trick vs. Portland and the opener vs. Colorado, before Will Johnson scored the second vs. the Rapids – which Saborio set up.
- “Sometimes you need to score goals in different ways; it’s nice to see that we did that tonight – Fabian pressing to create the first one and Sabo pressing to create the second one,” said Kreis. “Sometimes when you play teams that are very compact and very organized, the best way to get at them is to win the ball in their half and be quickly towards their goal.”
- Fabian Espindola’s last goal came June 16, but he’s recorded three of his four assists on the season since, over a seven-game span.
- “We feel that we are at our best when we are the team that’s really pressing the game and that starts with our forwards,” said Kreis. “When they’re willing to chase down lost causes, when they’re willing to go pressure any of the four defenders, when they’re willing to make 30 and 40 yard runs, that means that everybody on our team gets to step up the field and typically we win it in their half and when we win it in our opponents half, often times we create good chances.”
- With Kyle Beckerman suspended after his sending off against San Jose, Yordany Alvarez again filled the holding role in midfield, his third start of the season and his first since June 30.
- “I’d like to count how many balls he won in the first 30 minutes because I was sitting there and he literally, tackle, tackle, tackle; break up this play, break up that play," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. "I thought he was aggressive in there, and I really thought he brought the bite that Kyle Beckerman brings game in and game out. I thought he did great.”
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC put an end to their four-game winless slide, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 on Sunday evening at BC Place. Whitecaps FC are in third place in the Western Conference with 34 points from 22 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: VAN v SJ
- Whitecaps FC opened the scoring after 20 minutes. Lee Young-Pyo hit a well-weighted through ball into the right side of the box, setting up Dane Richards to cut in and blast a ball past a sprawling Jon Busch.
- But the visitors were level seven minutes before the half. Alan Gordon got loose on the back post to head home a cross from Marvin Chavez, looping it over Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
- The winner came in the 61st minute, after Camilo went down under a rash Sam Cronin slide-tackle at the left corner of the six-yard box. After some discussion, Barry Robson stepped up to take the penalty and hammered a rising drive into the upper left corner of the goal.
- Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made no changes to the team that reached a 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy at BC Place.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): Joe Cannon - Lee Young-Pyo, Jay DeMerit, Martin Bonjour, Alain Rochat - Jun Marques Davidson, Gershon Koffie - Dane Richards, Camilo (Jordan Harvey 85), Barry Robson - Darren Mattocks (Kenny Miller 78).
- Whitecaps FC extended their home undefeated streak to eight games in league play (5-0-3), their last loss at BC Place coming April 18 vs. Sporting Kansas City.
- “It was a very important win for us especially learning from the LA game and holding on much better and limiting the chances,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “We’ve believed that if we played our best, we have a good chance against anybody and we still believe that. We have a long way to go, but we need our belief and confidence to increase.”
- Making his second consecutive start on the right wing, Dane Richards scored his first goal for Whitecaps FC, his only goal with New York coming on May 19 vs. Montreal.
- “I think we can build his confidence more and we can work with him more,” Rennie said. “We already have worked with him a little bit – the movement that he scored the goal from was something that we worked on this week, so it was great to see him taking that on board and getting the result and the benefit of that. He was worthy of the man of the match performance and I hope he’ll get many more for us.”
- Camilo made his second consecutive start in the attacking midfield role behind striker Darren Mattocks, the first time since the first three games of the season he’s started in consecutive league matches.
- “I thought Camilo was fantastic. Having him like that is like signing a new player and that’s an exciting thing,” said Rennie. “We have Dane, not had Darren very much, we have Kenny and Camilo back to form – it’s like having a new group of guys.”
- Making his sixth consecutive start since coming to the club, Barry Robson scored for a second consecutive match, converting the match-winning penalty.
- “We’ve never had a penalty so it got to the point where we were debating who was going to shoot. Robson has scored them in really big games and Camilo has for other teams as well, but Robson probably wasn’t going to give the ball away after he got it,” said Rennie. “It’s nice to see him score 2 goals in 2 home games. It helps him settle and lets the fans see how good of a player he is.”
- The club’s newest Designated Player, Scottish international Kenny Miller, made his MLS debut, coming on for the final 12 minutes.
- “I should have had one but the ball just held up and hit my left thigh,” said Miller. “But it was a good result for the team and I was happy to get 15 minutes under my belt and I hope in a couple weeks’ time I’ll have my fitness up.”