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Vancouver Whitecaps FC

25 September 2:47 pm

Real Salt Lake will look clinch a playoff berth on Saturday, when it takes on Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 5:00 p.m. MT at BC Place on CW30.

The last time Real Salt Lake and the ‘Caps met in Vancouver, the Claret-and-Cobalt recorded its first-ever win at BC Place, a 1-0 victory on Sept. 28, 2013. The match saw a strong performance from a makeshift lineup with then-rookie forward Devon Sandoval notching the lone goal in the ninth minute. The win last year improved Real Salt Lake’s all-time road record in Vancouver to 1-2-1.

RSL and the Cascadia club have met twice before this year, with both matches ending in draws. In their first meeting of 2014 on April 26, the sides played to a wild 2-2 tie at Rio Tinto Stadium. The two clubs met again in Utah a few months later, playing to a 1-1 draw on July 19.

In anticipation of Saturday’s clash north of the border, check out the Sept. 28, 2013 match highlights above.

24 September 3:47 pm

RSL looks to clinch a playoff berth in Vancouver

Real Salt Lake will be able to clinch a playoff berth with a win or a draw on Saturday in Vancouver. If the Claret-and-Cobalt accomplish the feat, it will have qualified for the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season – the longest active streak in MLS.

Success hard to come by at BC Place

Real Salt Lake has had mixed results in Vancouver, posting a 1-2-1 road record at BC Place. The Claret-and-Cobalt’s first win in the Canadian city came last year, a 1-0 win on Sept. 28, 2013. RSL was able to pull off the win with a makeshift lineup and a lone goal scored by forward Devon Sandoval. RSL’s visit to Vancouver on Saturday will be the club’s first since the win last fall. Real Salt Lake has had a better all-time record against the ‘Caps, going 4-2-4 against the Cascadia Club. The Claret-and-Cobalt will also be facing a club on Saturday that is desperate for three points in order to stay alive in the playoff race. Vancouver will be looking to make the most of its home field advantage, so BC Place could be even more daunting for RSL on Saturday.

Can RSL make a run for Supporters’ Shield?

With just five games remaining in the regular season for the Utah club and just nine points separating the top six teams in the league, RSL will have to rack up the points if it wants to make a run for the Supporters’ Shield. Grabbing three points at Vancouver on Saturday will be critical for its chances to gain ground on Seattle Sounders FC and LA Galaxy who both sit above RSL with 54 points. Compared to the teams at the top of the table, Real Salt Lake has one of the easier stretches to end the season on paper. After facing a struggling Vancouver, RSL faces bottom-dwellers Chivas USA twice, along with San Jose Earthquakes who are in eighth place in the west and Portland Timbers who currently sit just above the red line with 39 points. Seattle finishes the season with clashes with Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Vancouver and then back-to-back games with LA Galaxy. The Galaxy also faces some stiff competition before taking on the Sounders, with matchups against New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC and FC Dallas. If RSL can get a result at Vancouver on Saturday and close out the end of the season with wins, the Claret-and-Cobalt could have a good chance to snatch the Supporters’ Shield.

18 July 5:33 pm

MLSsoccer.com's Matt Doyle and Nick Firchau take a crack at previewing Saturday's tilt between Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Give the preview a watch above - certainly worth the time.

17 July 4:52 pm

Real Salt Lake kicks off its three-game homestand on Saturday, hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Rio Tinto Stadium at 8:00 p.m. MT.

Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s clash:

Real Salt Lake looks to capitalize on upcoming homestand

The Claret-and-Cobalt enters Saturday’s match coming off another disappointing road result – a 1-0 loss at LA Galaxy on July 12. RSL has been in a bit of a summer slump, registering just one win in its last seven matches in MLS play. With the Claret-and-Cobalt playing five of the next six matches at home, the Utah club will be looking to capitalize on its home field advantage and collect as many points as possible before heading into the final stretch of the season – just two points separate second-place RSL and fifth-place FC Dallas which occupies the last playoff spot. Real Salt Lake is 4-1-3 at home this year, and posts a successful all-time home record, going 77-32-41 in MLS regular-season play during 10 seasons on Utah soil, and outscoring opponents 246-146.

Nick Rimando in pursuit of the all-time MLS shutout record

Real Salt Lake veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando is one clean sheet away from tying retired goalkeeper Kevin Hartman for the all-time MLS shutout record with 112. If the 35-year-old ties the record this weekend, Rimando will have as many cleans sheets as Hartman in 59-less games. Hartman achieved 112 shutouts through 416 games played; Rimando has currently played 356 MLS regular season games. The California native will likely surpass the record this year, with 16 MLS matches left to play in the 2014 regular season.

Real Salt Lake looks to snap recent scoring drought

Real Salt Lake has found goals hard to come by in its last seven matches in MLS, recording only four goals in that time frame. With last Saturday’s 1-0 shutout at LA, RSL has now gone 337 minutes without scoring a goal from open play. The last time a goal was scored from open play was when RSL midfielder Luke Mulholland found the back of the net in the 23rd minute of the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 3-1 loss to Portland Timbers on June 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real Salt Lake has also suffered four shutouts in its last seven MLS matches.

Real Salt Lake got off to a fantastic start to the season, scoring 23 goals through its first 11 matches. But with international absences (World Cup) and injuries (Saborio broken foot), the Claret-and-Cobalt has struggled to score consistently.

Will lightning strike twice on Saturday?

Real Salt Lake will have some bitter memories heading into Saturday’s tilt with Vancouver. The last time the two sides met on April 26 at Rio Tinto Stadium, Vancouver staged a wild two-goal comeback in the final minutes of the match to snatch what looked like a sure win from RSL to draw 2-2. The Claret-and-Cobalt jump out to an early lead through goals from forwards Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio, but RSL was unable to hold onto the lead, allowing Vancouver to score in the 86th and 94th minutes. The Claret-and-Cobalt has made late goals a bit of a habit this year, so Saturday’s contest will be a great chance to demonstrate that the club has learned from its early season mistakes and it can close out matches.

17 July 2:00 pm

Saturday’s matchup between Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will likely feature an entertaining clash of the Morales’. RSL’s own Javier Morales will go up against Vancouver’s offseason DP addition, 28-year-old Pedro Morales – who spent the last two seasons with Spain’s La Liga side Malaga CF. If both Morales’ start on Saturday, it will be the first meeting between the two, as Pedro did not appear for the ‘Caps in the clubs’ first encounter of the season at Rio Tinto Stadium on April 26. With the 2014 MLS season past the halfway mark, revisiting a statistical analysis of the two will give greater insight into the influence both Morales’ have had on their respective clubs this year.

Javier and Pedro have a lot more in common than just their last names. The two both hail from neighboring countries in South America – Javier from Argentina and Pedro from Chile. But don’t let their proximity fool you; Argentina and Chile aren’t known to have the best relations which include a deep futbol rivalry between the nations. On the pitch, both Javier and Pedro play a similar role for their respective clubs, both serve as the attacking playmaker on the field – positions associated with the famed number 10.

Javier has been with RSL for his entire MLS career and is now in his eighth season with the Claret-and-Cobalt, so drawing comparisons for the two is a bit premature, but both Morales’ stats in 2014 seem to show how similar the two players might really be.

Javier has started all but one of RSL’s matches this year, appearing in 17 (out of 18) games for a total of 1,515 minutes of playing time. The Argentine has notched five goals and five assists, and recorded a total of 28 shots with eight shots on goal. Pedro has also made 17 appearances this year for his club, 15 of which were starts, for a total of 1,363 minutes. Pedro has six goals and eight assists on the year, and has pulled the trigger more often, registering a total of 52 shots with 20 on goal.

Here are some comparable stats between the two:

STATS

Javier Morales (RSL) 1,515 min.

Pedro Morales (VAN) 1,363 min.

Chances created (incl. assists)

62

47

Chances created from open play

49

39

Chances created from set play

13

8

Passing Accuracy

81.31

81.02

Passing accuracy in opp. half

78.44

77.18

Passing accuracy in final third

71.22

69.27

Passes into final third

178

210

Successful crosses/corners

30

28

As you can see from the above table, the two playmakers have similar stats halfway through the 2014 season. Passing accuracy between the two is almost even across the board. Javier has the upper hand on total number of chances created while Pedro claims more passes into the final third. Both have a similar number of successful crosses/corners. The most glaring difference between the two is rather the number of shots taken and shots on goal.

Saturday’s matchup is expected be an entertaining one, especially if both Morales’ play, but hopefully not as entertaining as the last meeting between the sides that saw RSL concede two late goals in the final five minutes to draw 2-2.

28 April 11:21 am

ABC 4’s Real Sports Live was all over RSL’s 2-2 Saturday draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, covering the match front-to-back on their Sunday night show.

Claret-and-Cobalt midfielder Ned Grabavoy and defender Tony Beltran sat down with Brian Dunseth and Bill Riley after the game for part of that coverage, both giving honest, forthright assessments of RSL’s disappointing draw.

Check out their interviews in the above video. 

25 April 2:57 pm

Real Salt Lake will look to stay unbeaten in the 2014 season on Saturday, when it will host Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a 7:30 p.m. MT tilt at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s match:

Rimando looks to make history

Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando can make history on Saturday, as he’s just one shutout away from tying retired goalkeeper Kevin Hartman for the all-time MLS shutout record with 112 career regular season clean-sheets. The Wall of the Wasatch has three shutouts in just five games this season, tied with Houston’s Tally Hall and Sporting KC’s Eric Kronberg for most in the league.

RSL aims to extend club-record unbeaten streak

RSL has gotten off to a fantastic start in 2014, posting an unbeaten 3-0-4 record through its first seven games. The lone remaining unbeaten team in MLS, this is RSL’s longest-ever unbeaten run to start a season. The Claret-and-Cobalt’s current regular season unbeaten streak of 11 games dating back to last September’s win at Vancouver is the second-longest in club history, behind the 18-game regular season unbeaten run compiled from July 2010-April 2011. Should RSL pick up a result on Saturday, it would become just the ninth team in MLS history to start a season unbeaten in its first eight games.

Could Cassar move up the record books?

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Cassar’s seven-game unbeaten streak to start his managerial career is one of the best in MLS history, tied for third in league history with ex-Chicago Manager and current Montreal Head Coach Frank Klopas. Cassar can move into a tie for second with a result on Saturday, as an eight-game unbeaten streak to start a head coaching career would bring him even with the late Tom Fitzgerald, who started 8-0-0 after taking over the Columbus Crew midway into the 1996 season. Should RSL get a result on Saturday, Cassar would have the longest unbeaten run to start a coaching career in MLS’s non-shootout era; Lothar Osiander started his MLS coaching career 12-0-0 with LA in 1996.  

Will Plata return to the starting lineup?

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata made his return from injury last week, coming off the bench in the second half after missing three games due to a left hamstring strain. The dangerous Ecuadorian has been dynamite this season, registering two goals and two assists in just 230 minutes. We could see him return to the starting XI on Saturday, something that would no doubt give RSL a boost against the dangerous ‘Caps.

Last home game for international trio?

Saturday’s match could be the last home game for quite some time for three of RSL’s biggest players, as Rimando, Captain Kyle Beckerman and forward Alvaro Saborio could all be with their respective national teams ahead of the World Cup prior to the Claret-and-Cobalt’s next home match on May 17 against Colorado. FIFA mandates that clubs release players for pre-World Cup camps on May 14. Should all three players make their country’s World Cup roster, the next possible home game they would be available for wouldn’t be until July 4 against New England, over two months from now.  

25 April 11:03 am

Real Salt Lake has had a good deal of success against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, posting a 4-2-2 all-time record against the Canadian side. RSL is currently on a four-game unbeaten run against the ‘Caps dating back to 2012. The Claret-and-Cobalt won its last match against Vancouver, using a reserve-laden side to top Whitecaps FC 1-0 at BC Place last September.

Check out highlights of last September’s victory above. RSL faces Vancouver again on Saturday, hosting the ‘Caps at Rio Tinto Stadium at 7:30 p.m. MT.