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RSL vs. Vancouver Whitecaps: What to Watch

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Real take on the Whitecaps in the second to last preseason friendly in the Pacific Northwest. 

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

We’re starting to see some distinct patterns after three friendlies in this preseason. We have a better idea of where we’re doing well and where we need to improve. Let’s take a look at what we’re hoping to see in this match.

Effective Defending

In the last game against Portland, we saw a shaky defense. Reagan Dunk and Justin Schmidt both looked bad for most of their time on the field. Granted, we haven’t seen the starting backline the way we have with the attack, but we need better. It would be nice to see regular season backline, such as Beltran, Schuler, Maund, and Phillips (Glad is still out with the U20s), but if we don’t get that, look to see who is able to work their position effectively. Both Lalo and Nick were left out to dry and Portland picked up two goals, so we want that tidied up.

Better Passing

We are beginning to see the team gel more, but our passing, especially in the midfield, leaves a lot to be desired. The attack is showing moments of real understanding between one another, which is a good sign with Rusnak being totally new and Allen adjusting to his role on the right wing. We’re hoping to see that understanding translate downfield.

The Kids Are Alright

Some of the nicest surprises in the preseason have been from players like Jose Hernandez and Ricardo Velazco, who both impressed with their speed and attack-minded movement. Holness is fun to watch and his goal against Portland was a beauty. On the other hand, Besler, Dunk, and Schmidt have all had mixed to poor results. If they those three are going to emerge as real options for the first team, they need to show more value and show it soon.