Preview: After rare home loss, RSL look for form vs. 'Caps

Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver

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Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC meet for the first time ever when the clubs face off Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium. For Real, they’re coming off something they haven’t experienced for more than two years – rebounding from a home league loss, after a 2-1 reversal by Seattle last weekend. Whitecaps FC are looking to turn around their long league winless run, starting this road trip with a 1-1 draw at Chivas USA on Wednesday.

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REFEREE: Juan Guzman. SAR (bench): Fabio Tovar; JAR (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Ricardo Salazar MLS Career: 3 games; FC/gm: 30.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 1; pens: 2

INJURY REPORT: REAL SALT LAKE – OUT: MF Javier Morales (L ankle fracture dislocation); FW Paulo Jr. (R hip flexor strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Donny Toia (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Collen Warner (L ankle sprain) …
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); MF John Thorrington (R calf strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Jonathan Leathers (R calf contusion); PROBABLE: FW Long Tan (R foot contusion)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: RSL: Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica); Arturo Alvarez (El Salvador); Will Johnson (Canada) … VAN: Terry Dunfield (Canada); Nizar Khalfan (Tanzania); Michael Boxall (New Zealand)
SUSPENDED: RSL: Jamison Olave (through June 4) … VAN: Eric Hassli (through June 4)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Terry Dunfield

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 7/16: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 1 p.m. PT
•    Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. VAN: first game … Tom Soehn v RSL: P6 W2 L3 D1

REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake lost at home in league play for the first time in more than two years, falling 2-1 to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL starts the week sitting in a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference, with 17 points from 8 matches.

LAST MATCH
•    The match turned just before the hour mark, when RSL defender Jamison Olave was shown a straight red card by referee Mark Kadlecik after bringing down Sounders FC striker Mike Fucito.
•    Seattle capitalized in the 72nd minute. Nate Jaqua knocked down a corner onto the foot of Fredy Montero, who slipped to defender Patrick Ianni and he easily finished from almost on the goal line.
•    Sounders FC then doubled the lead in the 84th minute as Lamar Neagle received the ball near the edge of the 18-yard box and curled in a stunning shot over RSL 'keeper Nick Rimando and off the underside of the bar.
•    RSL pulled one back just four minutes later when Nelson Gonzalez received a throw-in in the box, turned a defender and ran towards the middle of the area, striking a left-footer past Kasey Keller.
•    RSL coach Jason Kreis made three changes to the side that played to a scoreless tie with FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park. Robbie Russell came into the back four for Chris Wingert, and Jean Alexandre and Fabian Espindola started up top in place of Arturo Alvarez and Alvaro Saborio.
•    REAL SALT LAKE--Nick Rimando - Robbie Russell (Nelson Gonzalez 76), Jamison Olave (sent off 58), Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran - Andy Williams (Luis Gil 87), Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Ned Grabavoy - Jean Alexandre (Chris Wingert 62), Fabian Espindola.

TEAM NEWS
•    Real Salt Lake saw their MLS-record home unbeaten streak come to an end after 29 games in the 2-1 loss to Seattle. RSL had last lost to an MLS opponent at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 16, 2009.
•    “You can try to spin it however you want,” midfielder Will Johnson said. “Down a man and all that stuff. But at the end of the season, when you look back, no one’s going to remember that, they’ll just remember you lost the game.”
•    Nick Rimando allowed his first goal since April 30 and 409 minutes for the Sounders FC opener, the third-longest shutout streak in club history (behind 568- and 567-minute streaks set last season, the third- and fourth-longest in MLS history).
•    RSL’s Nelson González scored his second career goal in 14 appearances, after netting last July 31 in a 3-0 win against D.C. United. “When Nelson comes in to the game like that, down a man, as bright as he was and scores a goal – it will be hard to leave him off the lineup next week,” Kreis said.
•    It was the first goal for Real in 271 minutes, since a 1-0 win at Chivas USA on May 7. Since the 2-2 draw in Monterrey, Mexico in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final, Real are 1-3-2 with just two goals scored in all competitions. "We're a bit unsure of ourselves individually and collectively right now," said Ned Grabavoy.
•    After two games out with a hamstring injury, Fabian Espindola returned to the RSL lineup. "I think he had a really good match for us tonight, was looking to take chances, wanted to be on the ball and make things happen," said Kreis. "We need more players that want to do that right now.”
•    With Alvaro Saborio and Arturo Alvarez both on international duty, and Paulo Junior injured, nominal defensive midfielder Jean Alexandre started up top alongside Espindola.
•    "In my opinion, we got too many guys who are OK with letting somebody else do the job or take the responsibility, or have the final pass or take the shot,” Kreis said. “We need more guys to step up and say I'm going to do it."
•    Olave was sent off for the first time since September 2009, the final of three expulsions that season. It was his first card at all this year; in his first three MLS seasons, he had been shown 23 yellow cards and three red cards.
•    “Olave has been doing a much improved job in the disciplinary column for the past year and half now. Last year I thought he had a real strong year, this year he’s been spot-on,” Kreis said. “A different referee tonight and that’s a yellow card.”
•    Grabavoy was the third player to fill the attacking midfield role since Javier Morales went down with a broken leg, after Collen Warner and Andy Williams got the two previous starts. RSL is 0-2-1 since the Morales injury.
•    "We're just trying to get things going around here again. Trying to find a way to fill Javier's shoes and find a way to get back to playing good attacking soccer," said Johnson. "So far since Javier went down and what not, as a group we haven't stepped up. We've let ourselves down on numerous occasions. It just hasn't been good enough."
•    Rimando will remain with RSL during the CONCACAF Gold Cup despite being named to the U.S. team, yet can be called into action at any time.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC kicked off the Tom Soehn era with another draw, a 1-1 result with Chivas USA on Wednesday evening at The Home Depot Center. Whitecaps FC have 10 points from 13 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    Both goals came in a three-minute span at the start of the second half. Nick LaBrocca gave Chivas USA the lead just seconds after the break. Receiving a pass from Gerson Mayén in midfield, LaBrocca turned and raced forward on a long run, firing a shot from outside the area past Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
•    Just two minutes later, Vancouver hit for the equalizer when Camilo collected a rebound of a shot blocked by a defender and curled a shot past Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, inside the right-hand post.
•    Whitecaps were forced to play the final 23 minutes of the match a man down when Eric Hassli was sent off for a reckless tackle on Chivas midfielder Ben Zemanski.
•    In his first game in charge, Tom Soehn made four changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls at Empire Field. Joe Cannon came in between the posts for Jay Nolly, Bilal Duckett and Mouloud Akloul came into the back four for Wes Knight and Greg Janicki, and Alexandre Morfaw came into the midfield with Terry Dunfield on international duty.
•    VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-1-1): Joe Cannon - Bilal Duckett, Mouloud Akloul, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat - Shea Salinas (Jeb Brovsky 83), Gershon Koffie, Alexandre Morfaw, Camilo (Omar Salgado 77) - Davide Chiumiento (Russell Teibert 68) - Eric Hassli (sent off 66),

TEAM NEWS
•    While Soehn did not see Whitecaps FC’s winless run come to an end – it’s now at 12 games in league play after the First Kick win vs. Toronto FC – it was a fourth draw in five games for the club in MLS.
•    “We have to continue to roll, because eventually those chances will turn into goals, and then all of the sudden you’re winning 3-1 instead of drawing 1-1,” defender Jay DeMerit said. “We have to believe; we have to believe that those type things will start to turn when guys continue to step up and the new formula will hopefully start to work.”
•    Soehn made a number of marked changes to the team in his first game in charge. After playing as a striker for the entire season, Camilo was moved to the left side of midfield. Davide Chiumiento, deployed as a winger on either side throughout the campaign, was moved to an underneath striker, behind Eric Hassli.
•    “I feel really comfortable in this position because I am always in the game and I can ask for a lot of balls,” Chiumiento said.
•    Rookie defender Bilal Duckett and Cameroonian midfielder Alexandre Morfaw each made their MLS debuts. Duckett had last been an unused substitute on April 16, while Morfaw had not been included in the 18-man gameday roster all season. Both had been with the Whitecaps FC Residency squad.
•    “It took them a little while to find the flow of the game,” said Soehn. “Anytime you make that many changes, it’s going to take a little bit to find our rhythm, plus we talked about reshaping ourselves, so I could see us grow through that. Obviously when we got the red card, it didn’t help us a whole lot."
•    As well, goalkeeper Joe Cannon made his second start of the season – his first since March 26, as Jay Nolly had started the last 14 games in all competitions between the posts.
•    “We solidified things, made sure we weren’t out of sorts. Our coach stressed that – he said organization and compactness are the No. 1 things we need to work on,” Cannon said. “I think with Jay and Mouloud and myself we’re pretty vocal, and it just ended up working out.”
•    Hassli was sent off for a third time on the season – in 10 MLS appearances – receiving a straight red card in the 66th minute.
•    “Obviously he got a red card, so he put himself in a predicament by doing the tackle,” Soehn said. “It’s disappointing because I thought we were in a pretty good position at that point. We talked about making sure we finished with 11 guys on the field, anytime you’re shorthanded you make it difficult for everybody, and it affects the team.”