Preview: Headed in opposite directions, 'Caps, RSL clash

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Real Salt Lake, July 16

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images/MLSsoccer.com

EMPIRE FIELD, Vancouver, B.C.
4 p.m. ET (Rogers SN1; KMYU 2.2)
July 16, 2011 (WEEK 18; MLS Game 173)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC will be looking to regain their Empire Field when they play host to Real Salt Lake on Saturday afternoon. Whitecaps FC have lost four games in a row, coming off a 2-1 defeat at the Colorado Rapids last weekend. Real are unbeaten in six games in league play after a 2-0 home victory against FC Dallas last weekend, though they were dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup in a 2-0 loss at FCD at midweek.

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REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. SAR (bench): Daniel Belleau; JAR (opposite): Frank Anderson; 4th: Paul Ward
MLS Career: 5 games; FC/gm: 21.6; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 0; pens: 2

INJURY REPORT: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC—OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: DF Jay DeMerit (R adductor strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Russell Teibert (R hip flexor); PROBABLE: MF Davide Chiumiento (R hamstring strain) FW Eric Hassli (R ankle sprain) FW Omar Salgado (L hamstring) MF John Thorrington (R calf strain) ... REAL SALT LAKE—OUT: MF Javier Morales (L ankle fracture dislocation); FW Paulo Jr. (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: GK Nick Rimando (R ankle sprain); DF Robbie Russell (R adductor strain); PROBABLE: FW Arturo Alvarez (R hamstring strain); FW Fabian Espíndola (L hamstring strain); DF Rauwshan McKenzie (lower back spasms); FW Álvaro Saborío (R knee swelling)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: VAN: Jordan Harvey (caution accumulation; through July 17)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Will Johnson
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Camilo, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Leathers, Alain Rochat ... RSL: Jean Alexandre, Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Russell, Chris Wingert

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Real 1 win, 2 goals ... Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 0 goals,Ties 0

  • Jean Alexandre scored his first MLS goal then set up Fabian Espindola for another as Real won in the first meeting of the clubs, June 4 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. VAN: P1 W1 L0 D0 ... Tom Soehn v RSL: P6 W2 L4 D1

LAST MEETING
6/4: RSL 2, VAN 0 (Alexandre 32; Espindola 79)

  • Real took the lead after 32 minutes. Kyle Beckerman threaded a pass to Jean Alexandre, just beating the offside trap, and the Haitian held off a couple of defenders before cutting toward goal and lifting a shot over Whitecaps FC 'keeper Joe Cannon
  • Then in the 79th minute, Alexandre evaded a midfield challenge and flicked it into space for Fabian Esp"ndola, who raced onto the pass then finished clinically from inside the area, putting a low shot into the right side of the net.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-4-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Collen Warner (Artur Aghasyan 87), Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Nelson Gonzalez (Andy Williams 67) - Jean Alexandre (Luis Gil 81), Fabian Espindola.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Bilal Duckett, Jay DeMerit, Mouloud Akloul (Michael Nanchoff 74), Alain Rochat - Shea Salinas, Gershon Koffie, Peter Vagenas (Alexandre Morfaw 46), Russell Teibert (Omar Salgado 46) - Davide Chiumiento, Camilo.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC lost their fourth match in a row, falling 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Whitecaps FC have 14 points from 20 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids took the lead in the 25th minute. Jamie Smith played a cross over the Whitecaps defense into the path of Conor Casey, and he settled before snapping a quick angled shot past Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
  • Colorado doubled the lead at the three-quarter mark of the match. Casey powered a header on goal from a free kick that Cannon couldn't hold, and substitute Scott Palguta slammed home the rebound.
  • Whitecaps FC pulled a goal back in the 77th minute, when Nizar Khalfan released Camilo behind the Rapids defense. The Brazilian rounded Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens and slid his shot inside the post, but no equalizer was to come.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the Columbus Crew at Empire Field. Jordan Harvey made his Whitecaps FC debut, coming into the team with Michael Nanchoff for Wes Knight and the suspended Shea Salinas.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-1-1): Joe Cannon - Jonathan Leathers, Alain Rochat, Michael Boxall (Greg Janicki 57), Jordan Harvey - Nizar Khalfan, Peter Vagenas (Jeb Brovsky 71), Gershon Koffie, Michael Nanchoff - Omar Salgado (Long Tan 46) - Camilo.

TEAM NEWS

  • Whitecaps FC have now lost four consecutive games in MLS play, and five in all competitions—the longest losing slide of their inaugural season.
  • "We gave a lot of young guys some time," Whitecaps FC coach Tom Soehn said. "They're starting to understand the way we want to play. We created enough opportunities that you feel disappointed not getting the result. I feel we're getting close, and I commend [the players] on their effort today - they never stopped battling."
  • Soehn ran out a side that that featured six starters 23 years of age or younger, including two teenagers.
  • "I was pretty proud of our young team," goalkeeper Joe Cannon said. "I thought the product we had out there was something that hopefully our fans can get behind in the future and we can try to build off it."
  • First-round SuperDraft selection Michael Nanchoff (No. 8 overall) made his first MLS start for Vancouver against Colorado, playing the full 90 minutes.
  • "I think he got tired at the end," Soehn said. "We were forced to make a couple of subs early, which kept him on the field. But I think it was a great experience for him."
  • Acquired just the day before from Philadelphia Union, Jordan Harvey slotted in at left back and played the full match, with Alain Rochat shifting inside to central defense.
  • "For Jordan, coming in and adapting as fast as he did shows the experience he has," Soehn said. "Defensively, he was sound, and he got in the attack like we asked him. I thought he had a good, solid performance, especially as he's only been with us for a day."
  • Whitecaps FC have lost eight games away from home, most in MLS. They are one of five teams still winless on the road in league play, along with Houston, New England, Portland and Toronto.
  • "I thought that on the road, we had a lot more possession than we normally do, and I give credit to a lot of guys for their effort," Cannon said. "I'm very disappointed in myself, especially on the second goal, it comes right off my hands, so I have to look in the mirror tonight.
  • On Tuesday, Whitecaps FC announced the signing of Mustapha Jarju as the club's second Designated Player. Last with Belgian club Royal Albert-Elisabeth Club (RAEC) de Mons, he scored 25 goals in all competitions last season.
  • "Mustapha is a proven goalscorer at the club level in Europe," said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. "He has pace and the ability to find the back of the net with regularity, as he did during his successful spell in Belgium. Mustapha will be a great addition to our strike force."
  • Whitecaps FC dealt Canadian international midfielder Terry Dunfield to Toronto FC at midweek for allocation money and future considerations.

REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake stretched their unbeaten streak to six games, defeating FC Dallas 2-0 on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL sits in fourth place in the Western Conference, with 30 points from 17 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Real took the lead in the 47th minute through some unfamiliar circumstances. From a free kick, Andy Williams curled a weak effort up and over the ball, but FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman misjudged it, seeing the ball spin off his hands and trickle into the goal.
  • RSL defender Chris Wingert cleared a ball off the line late, then Fabian Espindola capped the match in added time, taking a pass from Will Johnson after an interception and cutting inside the area before slotting a low shot past a diving Hartman.
  • RSL coach Jason Kreis made three changes to the side that came back for a 3-3 draw with the New England Revolution at Rio Tinto Stadium. Chris Wingert and Chris Schuler came into the back four for Robbie Russell and the suspended Nat Borchers, and Kyle Beckerman came into midfield for Collen Warner.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-1-3-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert - Kyle Beckerman - Ned Grabavoy (Fabian Espindola 66), Andy Williams (Collen Warner 81), Will Johnson - Luis Gil, Alvaro Saborio (Jean Alexandre 88).

TEAM NEWS

  • Real Salt Lake have now reeled off six games without loss, scoring eight goals in their last three games, winning two.
  • "We stated before the game that this was a huge, huge match for us," RSL head coach Jason Kreis said. "Probably the biggest one we've had this season against what I think is arguably the team that's in the best form right now. To get all three points at home was big for us."
  • Fabian Espindola scored for the second consecutive game after coming off the bench as a substitute, his fifth goal in his last seven games.
  • Real kept a clean sheet despite having two changes in the back four, with Nat Borchers suspended and Chris Wingert returning after a three-match absence.
  • "Schuler stepped in again and played well with his confidence, and Olave stepped up again today," Rimando said. "But I think the play of the day was Chris [Wingert] coming back and getting that ball before it went over the line."
  • One of the talking points after the match was the substitution of Alvaro Saborio.
  • "Sabo was actually a player that I was looking to get off earlier, and you get to the second half and you get that goal advantage and you are starting to think to yourself,  Who do we need to get out to make sure that they are ready for Tuesday?" said Kreis. "And especially a player like Sabo who has had knee injury issues; he was in my mind the whole time to try to rest a little bit. Then I thought about minute 80 he looked really tired, so the decision was made to get him some rest for Tuesday. He obviously wasn't pleased with it."
  • Just three days after their league encounter, FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake met in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup, and this time FCD claimed a 2-0 victory. Jair Benitez curled home a freekick in the 18th minute, then Jackson finished off a quick break in the 54th for the victory.
  • Here's the RSL team: Kyle Reynish, Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Collen Warner 58), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy (Arturo Alvarez 58), Will Johnson, Andy Williams, Fabian Espindola (Jean Alexandre 66), Luis Gil.
  • The loss continued RSL's dismal record at Pizza Hut Park; the scoreless draw earlier this season was the first time RSL had ever come away from Frisco with a result.
  • "We have seen it lots of time here in Dallas, where we can't get our energy level right. It presents its difficulties with the weather for us and it certainly did tonight," Kreis said "If we don't have the right energy and right mentality for games, we often don't get results and when we do have the right mentality and energy we do get results."