Tomorrow’s game at BC Place in Vancouver will be Real Salt Lake’s last road game of May and their last one until June 24 against the New York Red Bulls.
Despite an away record of 2W-2D-3L, RSL has a chance to get back into the top six in the Western Conference.
As of right now, Real Salt Lake (7th) have 17 points and sit a point behind Sporting Kansas City (5th – 18 points) and San Jose Earthquakes (4th – 18 points).
Getting a draw won’t help but should be enough if both Sporting KC and San Jose lose their games. If the Royals win, the three points would vault them into the top five with Vancouver Whitecaps (3rd – 20 points) and LA Galaxy (4th – 20 points).
With another road game, this marks Real Salt Lake’s 8th road game of the season.
Although the Claret and Colbalt are squaring off against the Whitecaps who are at home — one of the hottest teams to start the year — they haven’t done that well.
Vancouver’s home record is 3W-1D-3L; getting 10 points out of a total 21 points is decent but not what they would want. The three losses are a welcome sign for the Royals, but a much better one is the amount of goals Vancouver has conceded.
Goals allowed by Vancouver at home (in all competitions):
In the three wins at home, Vancouver has allowed a single goal.
In the two draws at home (including the Canadian Championship against Edmonton), Vancouver has allowed 3 goals.
In the three losses at home, Vancouver has allowed 7 goals.
In total, BC Place has seen their club give up a total of 11 goals. Even though Vancouver has responded with 12 goals in all competitions at home, this team can get scored on.
Starting XI’s for both clubs:
Real Salt Lake:
Jeff Cassar went with a 4-2-3-1 formation against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night.
Heading into that match, both Joao Plata and Javier Morales were making their return, coming on as substitutes. Now that they’re both healthy, they should feature in Friday’s clash with Vancouver.
I could see a 4-4-2 with Joao Plata and Álvaro Saborío up top.
This should open up the Caps’ defense allowing more goals to be conceded. Now with Plata and Saborío roaming around the attacking third it’ll be hard to defend both.
Both have a knack for scoring. Álvaro Saborío is Real Salt Lake’s all-time scorer since joining the club in 2011. Meanwhile Joao Plata led the team with 13 goals a year ago.
Adding in Javier Morales to go along with Olmes Garcia, Luis Gil and Luke Mulholland in a four man midfield will lead to plenty of scoring chances.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC:
Carl Robinson used a 4-2-3-1 formation in the 1-0 defeat against Colorado.
It’s been his favored formation, meaning we could see it once again.
Having Octavio Rivero play up top in the lone striker position has paid off dividends at the beginning of the year. He has quickly taken the league by storm with a team leading 6 goals and is currently tied for third overall in the league.
While he started the season hot — scoring 5 goals in 6 games — he’s cooled off.
These past 7 games have seen him only score once, against Philadelphia on May 9th. He snapped a four game scoreless drought with that goal but is on a two game scoreless streak right now.
Vancouver has two other capable goal scorers in Darren Mattocks and Pedro Morales so in essence they have a three-headed attack. But none have scored in two games just like Octavio Rivero. Coincidentally enough, all three players last scored in the 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Union.
Usually the home team is supposed to win due to home field advantage. But with all the goals that Vancouver has surrendered, it’s not a surefire pick for them to win.
I would actually choose Real Salt Lake in this match-up of Western Conference rivals.
While both teams feature a good attack I’m going with the team that is bringing back key players who were injured.
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It may only be two players, Joao Plata and Javier Morales, but they would be a boost to this squad who have averaged a goal per game — good for 15th at the time before their match with LA Galaxy — and have struggled because of said injuries.
I’m predicting a one goal win for the Royals, in the 2-1 or 3-2 variety.
The reason being, three more players are missing; defender Chris Schuler (injured), designated player Sebastian Jaime (injured) and homegrown player Jordan Allen (U.S. U-20 World Cup squad). It also helps to know that a majority of their home games have been close.
Had RSL featured a healthier squad, it’ll be easier to predict a win for the Royals.