After a pseudo-international break, Real Salt Lake are back in action. The team have had a solid run the last few months but it is down to the wire to make the playoffs. Since the Whitecaps are three points above Real in the standings, there is a big swing if we win. The Whitecaps are two wins, a draw, and a loss in their last four games.
A weakened defense
The defense had looked very good lately, allowing just two goals in the last five games. The concern for this game is that Marcelo Silva and Demar Phillips are both listed as questionable on the latest injury report. Danilo Acosta is suspended due to his red card in the last match. This means we’re likely to see a back four of Wingers, Glad, Horst, and Beltran. That isn’t a terrible line (remember the woes of the start of the season?), but it’s not ideal. The biggest question mark is Wingert and his speed. Beltran and Glad are solid as ever, and it’s been good to see more of Horst. It would be great to see some of those questionable injuries make the bench.
Becks is Back
Kyle Beckerman is back! Not only that, but both Sunny and Luke have looked exceptional recently. After Mulholland’s impressive performances, he might have a real shout to get the start. Luke is certainly more attack-minded than Sunny, but with the defensive needs in this game, Sunny might be the wiser choice. With Kyle in the midfield, his commanding presence should help on both sides of the ball. It’s hard to complain about missing Beckerman after a 4-1 routing of the Colorado Rapids, but he does bring a lot to the team. And he’s always a fascinating player to keep an eye on.
Silva has scored in each of the last four games (five goals total). He has been one of the best surprises of the season. He hasn’t traditionally played as a center forward, but he’s done a fantastic job of making the position his own. His movement helps the entire attack get forward and break through the defense. He’s shown a real ability to finish. The RSL Show pointed out that we might see the international break bump for Jefferson Savarino and Albert Rusnak, who were with their national teams, but Silva didn’t get that benefit. While he did get some much-deserved rest, a striker’s form is often dependent on consistency, so we’re hoping the time off the pitch is a help rather than a hindrance.