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

RSL is on the road to the Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium

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

Real Salt Lake play away but at Rio Tinto as they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Whitecaps have been housed in Utah during the 2021 MLS season due to Covid-19 travel restricts in and out of Canada. RSL defeated Vancouver in a dramatic 3-1 victory that saw two stoppage time goals give Real the win. Since then, RSL has lost twice and drawn once, and even that win was their only victory in 8 games. Vancouver have also been poor, having taken just 2 points from their last 7 matches.

Playing away, at home

It’s going to be very strange to see Real Salt Lake on the away bench and prominent Vancouver Whitecaps branding at the stadium. It’s unclear how much influence RSL will have in the stadium atmosphere, but RSL fans will be present and that’s a factor head coach Freddy Juarez has indicated as key to the team’s success.


The last few games have highlighted some issues in the midfield, specifically their ability to contribute to the defensive side of the game. Everton is the most defensive minded player who is likely to start in the midfield, but he hasn’t been seeing minutes and doesn’t seem to have fully returned to pre-injury form. He hasn’t been at this best since 2019, but he’s still a player who can contribute. Besler has been serviceable and is a player who understands the need to defend, but he’s not a world-beater either. Freddy simply must find a way to get the midfield pairing to help the backline more and tonight is a chance to make an improvement on that front.


RSL have scored two goals in their last three games. It’s not terrible, but the early magic we saw from the attack has been lost. Julio hasn’t scored since the first game of the season, Rubio has dropped off as well, and Wood hasn’t been impactful yet. Kreilach has done well; there’s not doubt there. Rusnak has improved, but not to the point of being a game changer. Dami aside, what can the team do to improve their scoring against a very poor Vancouver?

Injury report

Out: Ramirez and Farnsworth

Predicted lineup