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What we’re watching in Vancouver Whitecaps vs Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake are coming off a win but injuries and a difficult away ground will make this a challenging match

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at Real Salt Lake Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake just took down their oldest rivals 3-0 at home. Vancouver are tied with RSL on points, but are one place behind them in the standings due to goal difference. The Whitecaps have lost three in a row now, a run that began with a 2-1 loss to RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium. But this won’t be an easy game for RSL. Real have a staggering 11 players injured and have had very little success at BC Place in recent years.

Youths in the back row

With a few key starters out, such as Marcelo Silva, Demar Philips, and Tony Beltran, the backline got a lot younger. Last weekend, the oldest player in defense was the player making his team debut, Nick Besler. The average age on the backline was just 21.5 years old, so on average they could have a beer to celebrate their clean sheet.

While Danny Acosta subbed out for Pablo Ruiz at the half last Saturday, I think it unlikely we see that from the start. The Rapids game called for a more attack-minded player like Ruiz, but when RSL plays Vancouver, a true left back will be needed. That’s not to say it’ll be Acosta for sure, since we could see Henley again. Whoever starts at left back will shed light on if Acosta’s half time substitution was purely tactical or perhaps something more.

A shot for Ortuño

Luis Silva came off injured last Saturday and is listed as questionable on this week’s injury report. This could open the door for Alfredo Ortuño to get his first start. The Spanish forward has only played 119 minutes this season. Petke will decide to either rearange the forwards, perhaps playing Baird on the left and Plata in the center, or begin to integrate Alfredo into the team. A start for any player is a big responsibility, so what happens with the front line will, at the very least, give us a status update on where Mike thinks Ortuño is when it comes to attacking depth.

Damir deposits

Now that Damir Kreilach has opened his goal scoring account, will we see more from the mid fielder? His goal against the Rapids was pretty soccer, and RSL’s only goal from open play in that win. It’s the kind of thing we saw on his highlight reel with Union Berlin and we’d like some more please. He’ll be a good one to keep an eye on as this match will show if he’s settled in and confident.

Injury News


Beltran (knee 10/15/17)

Allen (knee 6/16/17)

Horst (knee 4/11)

Horwath (achilles 4/18)


Peay (knee 1/22)

Barry (hamstring 3/10)

Phillips (ankle 4/7)

M. Silva (groin 4/7)

L. Silva (ankle 4/21)


Herrera (hamstring 2/27)

Mulholland (hamstring 3/17)

Predicted Lineup


Lennon, Glad, Besler, Acosta

Beckerman, Kreilach

Plata, Rusnak, Savarino