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Match Preview: RSL looking to capitalize on defensive uncertainty


Real Salt Lake take on Vancouver Whitecaps this afternoon as they look to end a rocky road stand with a positive result before embarking on a three-match home stand.

With hard-nosed defender Jay Demerit absent, Real Salt Lake will be looking to capitalize on the Whitecaps' uncertainty in the back. Demerit, who has been one of the best defenders in MLS since leaving Watford FC at the end of 2010.

More: Jon Szekeres, manager of SB Nation's Vancouver Whitecaps blog Eighty Six Forever, addresses Demerit's absence

But as acutely as Demerit's absence will be felt for the 'Caps, Real Salt Lake's attacking line is not at its healthiest; Robbie Findley could miss the match after suffering an injury immediately after scoring against Seattle, causing him to miss the Colorado match. Joao Plata, too, is in doubt, also having missed the Colorado match.

Findley's speed, though, could be essential, and Plata's acceleration as much so: Whoever partners Saborio, they'll need to show that part of their game as they look to burst past young, inexperienced defenders.

RSL's defense is looking improved, though, with Chris Wingert nearing fitness. He could see the bench today. Chris Schuler will look to recover from a rocky start to the season, with his defensive strength sometimes magnificent and sometimes a bit error-laden.

The midfield will see absences, too, as youngster Sebastian Velasquez is set to miss out after breaking part of his hand, but with Javier Morales possible to start, his absence might be felt a little less sharply. Luis Gil, Ned Grabavoy and Kyle Beckerman will certainly start in the rest of midfield. Morales, though, could be held out, with the turf in Vancouver potentially a sticking point.