RSL Soapbox Predicted Lineup: Season Correct Percentage - 50/55 = 90.9%
(4-3-3) Rimando; Beltran, Olave, Schuler, Phillips; Gil, Pecka, Mulholland; Jamie, Saborio, Garcia.
Fan Predicted Lineup: Season Correct Percentage - 51/55 = 92.7%
(4-3-3) Rimando; Beltran, Olave, Schuler, Phillips; Morales, Beckerman, Mulholland; Gil, Saborio, Garcia.
Predicted Bench and Substitutions: Season Correct Percentage - 10/15 =
*Allen, Attinella, Mansally, Pecka, *Sandoval, *Stertzer, Vásquez
* designates predicted substitutes barring injuries or going down a man.
Players to Watch:
RSL's top tier center-back is likely to make his return along the back line for the Claret-and-Cobalt. After a week of rest, Schuler will likely return to full stamina and look to use it to his advantage.
Schuler will be key in both the offense and defense against Vancouver. On the offensive side of things, Schuler will be up against either the 6-foot-5 Kendall Watson or the 6-foot-1 Pa Modou Kah. Both of these players have size but the physical nature of Schuler could prove to be deceive in set-piece opportunities. On the defensive side of things, Schuler will be occupied with Octavio Rivero. Rivero is the league's leading scorer with five goals in seven matches. Keeping this veteran counter-attacker off the score sheet will be a full-time job for Schuler but he has done if before.
After yet another disappointing match for RSL's all-time leading goal scorer, Saborio will look to catch up to his opponent Rivero this match. Only scoring one this season so far - from the penalty spot nonetheless - Saborio will look to finally open his scoring sheet from open play in his fifth match of the season.
Struggling against Matt Besler and Ike Opara last week, Saborio will not have it any easier dealing this time with a larger and more physical back line. Expect Saborio to hold up the play and wait for additional attackers instead of going head-first into Vancouver's defense. With the veteran striker having a history of going up against physical players, however, expect this to be just another day at the office for the Costa Rican International.
One more note, do not be surprised if Saborio gets booked in this match as tempers might flair.
Garcia will be of particular interest this match as his names keeps getting called. By the fans the remarks are not too praise-worthy, but by coaching staffs around the league it is nothing but. The young attacker has shown that he has already matured a lot this offseason and in this new formation. Demonstrating his engine, match in and match out, Garcia has been popping up all over the field and has made taken more than his fair share of the defensive work load - registering two clearances, three tackles, three recoveries, and an interception last match alone.
Still, Garcia will be eager as ever to open up his scoring sheet. Going up against Steven Beitashour, Garcia has a chance to make his mark. Beitashour has already been the victim of a few of his own defensive mistakes - accounting to conceding at least two goals if not three. Still the veteran defender knows how to hold up forwards but could be exploited on a quick counter-attack. As Garcia mans the left wing, look to him to continue to bring a flair to the match in more ways than one.
With Kyle Beckerman likely sitting this one out because of some left leg injury (whether it is knee or thigh) sustained against the Dos a Cero (2-0) victory over Mexico. Returning from a hip flexor injury, Pecka will likely make his debut for the Claret-and-Cobalt. Although he is already a seasoned professional, it will be interesting to see how he deals with the physical nature of this match and league. Keep an eye on how the skipper's absence impacts the flow of the match and see if Pecka can keep pressure on the Whitecaps.
We'd like to know what you think. Do you think we got the starting lineup right? Did we overlook players who you think deserve a start? Did we miss players on the bench? What do you think Cassar has up his sleeves for this match? Will RSL continue their unbeaten success? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.