Blog

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

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. 

24 April 5:52 pm

Saturday’s matchup between Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will likely feature a clash of the Morales’. RSL’s own Javier Morales will go up against Vancouver’s new addition, 28-year-old Pedro Morales. Acquired in the offseason, Pedro Morales spent the last two seasons with Spain’s La Liga side Malaga CF, starting 13 of his 22 appearances and notching four goals for the Spanish club.

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 comparing the two overall is a bit premature, but both Morales’ stats in 2014 seem to show how similar the two players might really be.

Javier has started six of RSL’s first seven matches for a total of 527 minutes of playing time. The Argentine has notched two assists and recorded a total of seven shots with two shots on goal. Pedro has similarly been an influence for Vancouver, scoring one goal and notching two assists in seven appearances – five of which were starts – in 472 minutes played. The Chilean seems to pull the trigger more often though, registering a total of 19 shots with eight on goal.

Here are some comparable stats between the two:

STATS
Javier Morales (RSL) 527 min.
Pedro Morales (VAN) 472 min.
Chances created (incl. assists)
15
16
Chances created from open play
12
14
Chances created from set play
3
2
Passing Accuracy
79.02
79.23
Passing accuracy in opp. half
76.69
75.82
Passing accuracy in final third
66.43
65.15
Passes into final third
60
75
Successful crosses/corners
8
12

As you can see from the above table, the two playmakers have similar starts to the 2014 season. Passing accuracy between the two is almost even across the board. Only one overall chance created stands between the two with Pedro edging out the RSL veteran with two more chances created from open play. The biggest difference between the two is the number of passes into the final third, with Pedro recording 15 more than Javier.  

Saturday’s matchup looks to be an entertaining one with both Morales’ playing key roles and wielding their influence on their respective clubs. Only time will tell which Morales comes out on top.

25 October 4:31 pm

 

Everyone should have their eyes glued to their TVs this weekend as the MLS regular-season comes to a close with clubs still vying for playoff spots and the Supporters’ Shield. This weekend’s results hold major implications as to whether or not RSL will win the Supporters’ Shield or the Western Conference and who the Claret-and-Cobalt will face in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Real Salt Lake will be bystanders this weekend as the Claret-and-Cobalt finished its regular-season with Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Chivas USA. Wednesday’s win clinched a top-two West seed for RSL, meaning the Claret-and-Cobalt will play away in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on Nov. 2 or Nov. 3 before returning home to Rio Tinto Stadium for the West Semi second leg on Nov. 6 or Nov. 7. Real Salt Lake could still play any of the West playoff teams of Portland, LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders FC or Colorado Rapids in the West Semifinals.

RSL currently sits in first-place in the Supporters’ Shield race and Western Conference with a total of 56 points, 16 wins and 57 goals scored.

With so much at stake this weekend, here is a list of all the key matches that affect RSL and who you should be rooting for:

Saturday

Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting Kansas City – 1:00 p.m. MT on NBC Sports Network

The Claret-and-Cobalt will need Sporting Kansas City to lose or draw at PPL Park in order for RSL’s Supporters’ Shield hopes to stay alive. Sporting Kansas City currently sits in second-place in the Eastern Conference with a total of 55 points, one point behind the New York Red Bulls.  If Kansas City draws Philadelphia and ends up tied with RSL on points and wins, the Claret-and-Cobalt would place ahead based on the goals for tiebreaker, granted Kansas City doesn’t score 12 goals. The Philadelphia Union is facing a must-win situation in order to keep their postseason aspiration alive. This one’s easy: root for the Union.

Chivas USA vs. Portland Timbers – 8:30 p.m. MT on MLS Live

The Portland Timbers are the only team that can push RSL out of first-place in the Western Conference. A win for the Timbers at the StubHub Center would guarantee Caleb Porter’s squad first-place in the Western Conference and put an end to the Claret-and-Cobalt’s chance at the Supporters’ Shield. Portland currently has a total of 54 points, meaning a draw against Chivas USA would be enough to keep RSL first in the Western Conference. A Chivas USA win or draw might seem unlikely with their current record of 6-19-8, but everyone loves to root for the underdog. Let’s hope the Goats can end the season on a higher note and produce a result at home.

Sunday

New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire – 3:00 p.m. MT on UniMas

This one won’t impact the Western Conference, but it does hold huge implications in the battle for the Supporters’ Shield. Real Salt Lake sits atop the league table narrowly leading New York by the goals for tiebreaker with 57 goals to New York’s 53. Any result by New York against Chicago will officially end the Claret-and-Cobalt’s run for the Supporters’ Shield. Chicago enters the match desperate for a win in order to keep its own playoff hopes alive. Pull for Mike Magee to keep his scoring form and work some magic at Red Bull Arena.  

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Colorado Rapids – 6:00 p.m. MT on MLS Live

This match won’t affect RSL’s standing in the Western Conference but it can affect who RSL will face in the Western Conference Semifinals. Colorado will need a draw or a win in order to officially clinch a playoff berth. If RSL finishes in first-place it will take on the winner of the fourth-place vs. fifth-place knockout game. If RSL finishes in second-place, it will face the third-place team in the West. If Colorado does earn a result at Vancouver, its playoff placement won’t be determined until after the final MLS regular-season game between Seattle and LA. Colorado would need a win and for LA and Seattle to draw in order to clinch third-place which would most likely mean a Rocky Mountain Cup semifinal series, assuming RSL finishes in second-place. A RSL vs. Colorado playoff game would be the first of its kind. Who to root for? Follow your heart.

Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy – 7:00 p.m. MT on ESPN

The final match of the MLS regular-season will definitely be an entertaining one with the former MLS champions taking on Western Conference rival Seattle Sounders FC. Seattle is suffering an epic blowout to end its regular-season, losing its last four matches by a combined margin of 12-2. Despite Seattle’s recent run of poor form, they have already clinched a playoff berth. This match will determine whether or not Seattle or LA will avoid the fourth-place vs. fifth-place knockout game. LA and Seattle will want to grab as many points as possible to put as much room between them and the red line. Who to root against? Both.