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RSL vs. Vancouver preview: Preseason is heating up

Don’t mind us — we’re just getting you ready for Sunday’s match against the Whitecaps.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

What’s Vancouver been up to?

Well, for starters, the Whitecaps have a new primary kit (RSL gets a new away kit this year, it will be released on Feb. 16). Spoiler alert, it’s still not as cool as this kit from their past:

They also took a different preseason path to Portland than RSL did, deciding to trade the warm weather, and similarly out-of-form teams, for three games against U-23 squads in Wales. They scored a total of 8 goals on the trip, losing the first game 1-0, but then finishing out with consecutive 4-0 wins.

Their Southsiders supporters group won’t follow the team to the US while the travel ban is in place.

The team added new faces to the roster through both TAM and the draft. In a nutshell, there’s been a lot of news of the Whitecaps front.

It will be interesting to see if Vancouver can keep the goals coming when they face a tougher defensive test. Rimando’s back with the team, and both Van Oekel and Fernandez have been playing well.

What will the lineup look like?

As we move deeper and deeper into the preseason, Cassar’s tinkering with the lineup should slowly transition into something more solid. It’s hard not to fantasize about a starting 11, so getting a better look at what a more long-term team sheet could look like is exciting.

Of course, it could have looked even better with the addition of LD, but now we have a more confirmed source saying that deal is dead, Waibel himself.

One preseason pairing that’s showed promise has been Luke Mulholland and Luis Silva in the midfield. Both have a technique and flair that when combined has the potential to be really special. Keep an eye on those two when they’re on the field together.

How’s the team coming together?

With so many guys gone for national team duty, it’s a natural question to ask. First Rimando was on the road, now it’s the younger guys turn. But, if you’ve been following the team on social media, you’ll have had the chance to get a behind the scenes look at how the team acts when they’re not on the field. You can read more about team chemistry in this fantastic article here.

How competitive will the game be?

With guys fighting for roster spots and regular season playing time, it should be a pretty competitive atmosphere. That’s the good thing about these preseason games, they give a little better look at where guys are, and the trajectory they’re on. It’s pretty fair to say if they can’t cut it in preseason (unless they’re veterans), they probably won’t see the light of day during the regular season. With the squad feeling a little bit deeper than it has in the past few years, the game vs Vancouver should be exciting from start to finish. Hope you enjoy it.

Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday at 8:30 P.M. MT at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. This is RSL’s second game of the preseason tournament hosted by the Timbers, with the final game coming against MLS newcomers Minnesota United FC on Feb. 15.