Preview: 'Caps look to close in on RSL's conference spot
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs REAL SALT LAKE
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
August 11, 2012 (WEEK 23, MLS Game #215)
7 pm ET / 4 pm PT (SNET Pac; KTVX-ABC4)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Real Salt Lake meet for the second time in three weeks in a crucial game for both clubs in the Western Conference playoff race. Whitecaps FC return to action after a two-week absence, their last match a 2-1 loss at Real in the first meeting this season. RSL are coming off a 1-0 loss at Colorado last weekend. The teams both hold playoff spots at the moment, with Real eight points ahead of Whitecaps FC, who have a game in hand.
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REFEREE: Paul Ward. AR1 (bench): Kevin Duliba; AR2 (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Drew Fischer
MLS Career: 37 games; FC/gm: 23.1; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 11; pens: 7
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Omar Salgado (R foot fracture)
REAL SALT LAKE -- OUT: DF Chris Schuler (L foot bone stress response); GK Lalo Fernandez (R wrist stress fracture); DF Jamison Olave (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: MF Will Johnson (R ankle sprain); GK Kyle Reynish (rib contusion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: VAN: Etienne Barbara (Malta)
SUSPENDED: VAN: Joe Cannon (through Aug. 12)
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: VAN: Gershon Koffie, Martin Bonjour, Darren Mattocks … RSL: Jamison Olave, Alvaro Saborio
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Jay DeMerit … RSL: Fabian Espindola, Will Johnson, Javier Morales, Chris Wingert
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Real Salt Lake 2 wins, 4 goals … Whitecaps FC 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
AT VANCOUVER (1 meeting): Whitecaps FC 1 win, 3 goals … Real Salt Lake 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 10/27: Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7 p.m. MT
- The game is the return match in a home-and-home series with Real Salt Lake for Whitecaps FC. RSL took a 2-1 decision on July 27 at Rio Tinto Stadium, Vancouver’s last match.
- 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: Martin Rennie vs. RSL: P1 W0 L1 D0 … Jason Kreis vs. VAN: P3 W2 L1 D0
7/27: RSL 2, VAN 1 (Saborío 33, 58 – Mattocks 52)
- Real took the lead in the 33rd minute, after Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit handled a Fabián Espíndola cross in his own area. Alvaro Saborío converted the ensuing penalty kick.
- But Whitecaps FC pulled level in the 52nd minute. Camilo sent a beautifully weighted ball over the top of the RSL defense to a streaking Darren Mattocks, and he beat RSL 'keeper Nick Rimando to the ball, touched it past him and slotted the ball into the empty net.
- RSL regained the lead in the 58th minute. Substitute Ned Grabavoy made a deep run down the right flank before finding Javier Morales. The RSL playmaker lofted a cross for Saborío to drive into the goal with a textbook header to the lower-left corner.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Nat Borchers, Kenny Mansally (Chris Wingert 72) - Luis Gil (Ned Grabavoy 56), Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Javier Morales - Fabian Espindola (Yordany Alvarez 85), Alvaro Saborio.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): Joe Cannon (sent off 76) - Lee Young-Pyo, Jay DeMerit (Jordan Harvey 85), Martin Bonjour, Alain Rochat - Jun Marques Davidson, Gershon Koffie (Kenny Miller 71) - Dane Richards, Barry Robson, Camilo - Darren Mattocks.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC return to action after a weekend off, their last match the 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake on July 27. Whitecaps FC are in fourth place in the Western Conference with 34 points from 23 games.
HIGHLIGHTS RSL 2, VAN 1
- Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made no changes to his team for a second consecutive week, keeping the team that defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 at BC Place.
- The defeat was the third in a row on the road for Whitecaps FC, and extended their road winless run to four games.
- “We didn’t take good chances, because if we had taken those chances we would have gotten ourselves a better result, so that’s disappointing,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “I’m very pleased with how the players applied themselves, the effort they put in was good, their possession obtained was good, and we created enough to win the game, but unfortunately we didn’t take those chances and that cost us.”
- Rookie Darren Mattocks scored his seventh goal of the season to lead all MLS rookies, all coming over the last 12 matches.
- “It is something that I just keep working on from game to game and that’s what I have been told to do,” Mattocks said. “I really have to give most of the credit to my team, the forward line, the midfield line, the defensive line and our goalkeeper has been doing a fantastic job and they expect me to put the ball in the back of the net.”
- Striker Kenny Miller came off the substitutes’ bench for a second consecutive match after joining the club, playing the final 19 minutes.
- Goalkeeper Brad Knighton made his first league appearance since the second game of the season, when he came on in relief of an injured Joe Cannon in the March 17 game at Chivas USA. Knighton will almost certainly make his first start of the MLS campaign vs. Real, with Cannon suspended.
- “Joe has done fantastic this year for us and that’s where we are in the table – he’s come up with some big saves in some key games,” Knighton told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410. “You just have to come with the mentality you’re going to train hard every day and wait for your chance.”
- During the week off, the Whitecaps FC makeover continued, as former Irish international center back Andy O’Brien was signed. The 33-year-old joins from Leeds United AFC of England’s second-tier League Championship, and has played more than 300 matches in the English Premier League.
- “He’ll add a lot of competition to our team. Competition that we’ve not really had at centre back for a little while now," said Rennie. "We’re really pleased overall about it, and for me, getting a player who’s really motivated and hungry and determined to make a big impact on his career in Major League Soccer was too good of an opportunity to turn down.”
- Also, Vancouver signed Brazilian midfielder Tiago Ulisses, who was last with Botafogo Futebol Clube in Brazil’s Serie A. He played for Esporte Clube Noroeste after coming through Brazilian giants Sport Club Corinthians Paulista.
- "We've tracked him for quite a long time," Rennie said. "He's a little bit different type of player to the ones we have in midfield. He's not Rino Gattuso, but he has a similar style. He's aggressive, wins the ball and moves it quite well, so we just want to get him into our environment and look forward to seeing how he does.”
- Rennie described Ulisses as a defensive midfielder, which means he’ll likely be in direct competition with current starter Jun Marques Davidson – but the coach says the spot is Davidson’s to lose.
- “That part of the team is pretty settled,” Rennie said. “It’ll be a big challenge for [Ulisses] to get into the lineup. That’ll be up to him once he’s here every day, training, playing in games and all that kind of stuff. We’ll evaluate it, but Marques has been one of our best players this season, so he’s in a good position.”
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake saw their two-game winning streak come to an end, falling 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Real sit in second place in the Western Conference with 42 points from 24 games.
- The game’s lone goal came just before the end of the first half. Drew Moor’s cross from the right wing deflected off the head of Jaime Castrillón to the top of the box, and Joseph Nane pounced on the rebound and received a friendly bounce off the bottom of the crossbar over the line.
- RSL head coach Jason Kreis made four changes to the team that defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Chris Wingert came in at fullback for Kenny Mansally, Ned Grabavoy and Jonny Steele came into the midfield for Luis Gil and Will Johnson, and Justin Braun started up top in place of Fabian Espindola.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Jonny Steele (Will Johnson 63) - Javier Morales - Justin Braun (Emiliano Bonfigli 63), Alvaro Saborio (Fabian Espindola 46).
HIGHLIGHTS: COL 1, RSL 0
- Real lost for a third consecutive match on the road, and their second time away from home during the week, after falling in Costa Rica to CS Herediano in the opening match of the CONCACAF Champions League group stage.
- "You just do what you can," head coach Jason Kreis said. "You talk to the players. You can see that a few guys needed a rest. We’ve just got to be mindful of that as we go through the last part of the season. We’ve had some experience before where we’ve worn our guys out, so to speak, and then we get to the playoffs and we don’t have enough energy to do what it takes."
- RSL also saw their road goalless run reach 379 minutes in all competitions, and 289 minutes in league play, since Javier Morales scored June 23 at San Jose’s Buck Shaw Stadium.
- “It's my strong belief that in this league, about every single time, the team that wants it more typically get the result,” Kreis said. “I think the teams that are evenly matched up, the difference in quality right now, San Jose, and … the last place team in our league, is very small.
- After he was acquired from the Montréal Impact, local product Justin Braun made his Real Salt Lake debut, starting and playing 63 minutes.
- “There was a lot that could have been better out there," Braun said. “Obviously, it’s a new team and it’s my first time playing with the group. So I’m still learning the way that some of the guys play and their tendencies and trying to play off them. But overall, I think I’m OK with it. I’m not happy, but I’m just going to keep moving forward."
- Jamison Olave was out with a hamstring injury for a second consecutive league match, having also missed the CCL match at midweek.
- Jonny Steele made his first appearance in the RSL starting lineup in a league game since June 30.
“We had the opportunity to take over first place and we didn’t take it. But still, it’s just a big letdown,” said defender Tony Beltran. “I think we could have done better. I think at times the soccer was good but it wasn’t a complete performance in any way.”