Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps | MLS Match Preview
REAL SALT LAKE vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
April 26, 2014 (WEEK 8, MLS Game #69)
7:30 p.m. MT (KUCW-30; TSN2)
A pair of clubs looking to move up in the Western Conference table meet on Saturday evening when Real Salt Lake play host to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real still have yet to lose on the season, sitting in third in the division following their 1-0 home win vs. Portland last weekend. Whitecaps FC are right in the middle of the Western pack, coming off a 2-2 home draw with the LA Galaxy in the back end of their home-and-home series.
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. AR1 (bench): Baboucarr Jallow; AR2 (opposite): Felisha Mariscal; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 246 games; FC/gm: 26.0; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 60; pens: 56
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Matias Laba
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Real 4 wins, 9 goals … Whitecaps FC 2 wins, 7 goals … Ties 2
AT SALT LAKE (4 meetings): Real 3 wins, 6 goals … Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 7/19: Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 8 p.m. MT; 9/27: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 4 p.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/13: VAN 1, RSL 1 (Sanvezzo 84 – Garcia 66)
5/4: RSL 2, VAN 0 (Gil 47; Morales 71)
9/ 28: VAN 0, RSL 1 (Sandoval 9)
- RSL has a four-game undefeated streak alive vs. Whitecaps FC, dating back to Oct. 27, 2012. Whitecaps FC have never won at Rio Tinto Stadium, with Real having won three of the four meetings there all-time (with one draw).
- Real Salt Lake won the final two meetings between the teams last season, winning 2-0 in Sandy and 1-0 at BC Place.
- Coaches record: Carl Robinson vs. RSL: first game … Jeff Cassar vs. VAN: first game
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake maintained their undefeated opening to the new season, getting the game’s only goal to defeat the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL are in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 13 points from 7 matches.
- The game's lone goal came in the 78th minute. Midfielder Ned Grabavoy took a pass from Sebastián Velásquez and drove past a defender into the left side of the Timbers area before finishing with a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
- Real goalkeeper Nick Rimando made four saves, three of the spectacular variety, in earning his 111th career shutout, one short of tying the all-time MLS record held by Kevin Hartman.
- RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made one change to the team that played to a 2-2 result vs. Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Nick Rimando came back in between the posts in place of Jeff Attinella.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez 67), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales - Olmes Garcia (Joao Plata 67), Alvaro Saborio (Devon Sandoval 90)
- Real Salt Lake remained undefeated to open the season, now seven games without loss (3-0-4) following the win against Portland. RSL is now undefeated in its last 11 league games, dating back to the end of last season, the second-longest such streak in club history.
- “I just wanted us to come out aggressive and play with that mentality at home. Obviously, getting three points against a Western Conference foe in front of our fans,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. “We’ve built up a nice little rivalry with Portland. It’s always good to get a win against them and try to put as much distance from them as we possibly can because they’re a very, very good team.”
- Returning to the lineup after missing back-to-back matches after suffering a knock while on national team duty, Nick Rimando recorded his second consecutive shutout and third of the season. Rimando now has 111 career league shutouts, one away from Kevin Hartman’s all-time MLS record.
- “It felt fresh tonight. Two weeks of taking care of my knee, I just felt good out there and felt fresh. I guess I up to the task tonight and a little luck on my side and we can look at the defense as well, and the players in front of me. They played well and helped me out a lot,” Rimando said. “But it feels good to contribute like that, even with a couple weeks off and get three points in front of our fans.”
- Ned Grabavoy’s goal marked the third time Real have scored in the 78th minute or later this season to secure a result.
- “I thought there was a lot of really nice combinations, guys were in the right positions, even when the ball turned over they were in great positions to then win it back and stay on the offensive,” Cassar said. “I was really proud of the guys because we wanted three points in this game and we were pushing and pushing and pushing. We left ourselves exposed a couple of times, and Nicky [Rimando] was unbelievable.”
- Sebastian Velasquez made his second consecutive substitute appearance and recorded his first assist of the season.
- Joao Plata was able to come off the substitutes’ bench for the final 36 minutes, his first appearance since being forced from the field with an injury in the March 22 game vs. the LA Galaxy.
- “I thought when [Plata] and Sebastian [Velasquez] came into the game, it brought a lot of energy – it brought a lot of energy to the stadium and a lot of energy on the field.,” said Cassar. “With Joao [Plata], I thought he was very sharp. I thought his movements were good. He was telling me the other day that it all started when he started doing his rehab in the gym, and getting fit and strong, so when he stepped on the field, he hadn’t missed a beat. I thought he was sharp.”
- Said Grabavoy: “We’re getting guys healthy up top as well, which is really important because we can get some different looks up there whether we bring [Joao] Plata off the bench, or Devon [Sandoval] came in. Sebastian [Velasquez] has looked pretty sharp the past week in training – he comes in again and makes an impact. So competition is important without question, and then it becomes form and sharpness. And they’re some good players who don’t make our 18-man roster.”
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC put an end to their two-game losing slide, coming back for a 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy on Saturday afternoon at BC Place. Whitecaps FC sit in fifth place in the Western Conference with 9 points from 7 games.
- The Galaxy bagged the game's opener in the 38th minute, when Stefan Ishizaki latched onto a Baggio Husidic header right across the face of goal and put his own header heading into the bottom right corner of the Vancouver goal.
- But Whitecaps FC drew level on the three-quarter mark when Darren Mattocks raced in between defenders to claim a through ball before finishing on the right side from an acute angle.
- The Galaxy once again nosed in front in the 77th minute. After Omar Gonzalez hit a long ball into the penalty area, Rob Friend found Robbie Keane with a header and he scored on the half-volley with his left foot from very close range.
- Yet there was one more final answer from Whitecaps FC, Kekuta Manneh taking a cut back pass from Darren Mattocks before firing into the bottom right corner of goal from just outside the area, beating Jaime Penedo in the Galaxy goal.
- Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the LA Galaxy the week before at StubHub Center. Matias Laba and Kenny Miller came into the team in place of Sebastian Fernandez and Kekuta Manneh.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-3-1-2): David Ousted - Steven Beitashour, Andy O'Brien (Johnny Leveron 46), Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey - Russell Teibert (Kekuta Manneh 46), Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie - Pedro Morales (Erik Hurtado 65) - Darren Mattocks, Kenny Miller.
- While Whitecaps FC were able to stop their two-game losing slide, it was a second consecutive home game without maximum points after winning their first two games of the year at BC Place.
- “In the last two games we showed that we can compete with one of the top teams in Major League Soccer in LA, and a top manager in that. It was hard, hard work, we made it hard work,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “I don’t think in the first half we had the belief that we could go toe-to-toe with them at home, in front of our fans, I think we were playing safe. ... We’ve got to build in relation to that, we’ve got to learn that we can be one of those times, and I think that over the last two weeks we’ve shown that we were able to do that with a young core group of players.”
- Kekuta Manneh’s second goal of the season – both of which have come in the final 10 minutes to secure a result – gave Whitecaps FC the draw with LA. Manneh came off the substitutes’ bench to start the second half after making his first league start of the campaign the week before in the Galaxy away match.
- “I made a tactical switch to inject a little bit of life with the kid coming on, Kekuta, who I toyed with the idea of playing with from the start,” Robinson said. “Maybe me, being a young head coach thought, is it better to be in the game and then unleash the young’un, but I made the decision at halftime obviously with him.”
- Said Manneh: “A young player will be in and out of the [starting] XI, so it really wasn't that frustrating. You may take it in a different way, but I thought it was coach's decision. I'm happy coming off the bench and helping out the team, and it worked out today.”
- Darren Mattocks also scored his second goal of the season, both of which have come in the last three matches. Mattocks has started every game this season for Whitecaps FC.
- Sebastian Fernandez did not feature for the first time this season, a week after returning to the starting lineup for the first time in three matches in the match at LA.
- After missing a match through suspension, Matias Laba returned to a holding role in midfield and Kenny Miller also returned to the starting lineup after coming off the substitutes’ bench the week before.
- “We’ve got good players that if needed can come off the bench and make an impact. Obviously today you could see that, it gives us that threat going forward that makes defenders drop off and go deeper. And ultimately what led to Kekuta’s goal was there was a lot of pace involved in that, and finished off by a fantastic strike,” said Miller.