Preview: Whitecaps FC host Real Salt Lake

‘Caps return home to face Western Conference foes

VANCOUVER, BC – After three consecutive road matches, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-2L-1D) return to the friendly confines of BC Place this coming Saturday, April 13, when they face Real Salt Lake (2W-3L-1D) in the first of three matches between the Western Conference clubs in 2013.

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Saturday's match between Whitecaps FC and Real Salt Lake kicks off at 1 p.m. PT and is live on TSN, and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to Saturday afternoon’s match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 11 a.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match.

Following their first road point of the season this past Saturday in a 1-1 draw against San Jose Earthquakes, Whitecaps FC now come back to Vancouver as they look to build on their perfect start at home (2W-0L-0D). Since 2012, the ‘Caps have lost only three times at BC Place, holding a record of 10W-3L-6D in 19 MLS matches.

WHITECAPS FC

With two tough road losses behind them, the 'Caps earned a hard fought 1-1 draw against San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday, April 6, at Buck Shaw Stadium. Andy O’Brien was named Budweiser Man of the Match in an action-packed 90 minutes that featured many scoring chances and no shortage of physicality. Striker Corey Hertzog had the ‘Caps lone goal of the match in his first start as a member of the ‘Caps. In addition, Tom Heinemann made his first appearance for the Blue and White, coming on as a late substitution in the second half.

WATCH: 'Caps happy to be home

This weekend’s task will see Martin Rennie's squad focused on extending their winning start at home against a younger, revamped Real Salt Lake squad who will be looking to reach the playoffs for the sixth straight year. The ‘Caps are currently undefeated at home against RSL with a record of 2W-0L-0D at BC Place.

RSL will have to watch out for ‘Caps attacker Camilo, as he has scored nine of Whitecaps FC’s 34 goals at BC Place, including three goals in two home matches against the Utah club.

Rennie and his squad will continue to be without captain Jay DeMerit indefinitely due to a left Achilles tendon rupture and may be without Scottish international Kenny Miller, who is listed as questionable, due to tightness in his right hamstring. Miller did not appear in last weekend’s clash against San Jose.

REAL SALT LAKE

Head coach Jason Kreis’ squad are coming off of a 1-0 defeat to Rocky Mountain rivals Colorado Rapids last Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

WATCH: RSL prepare for 'Caps

RSL’s lineup features many MLS veterans, including midfielder Kyle Beckerman, defender Nat Borchers, and goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Beckerman is in his 15th MLS season, while Rimando is playing in his 14th season and Borchers in his 9th.

The Utah side also features an impressive offensive arsenal that includes Costa Rican striker Álvaro Saborio and Argentine playmaker Javier Morales. Last season, Saborio scored 17 goals for RSL, finishing third in the league in scoring, while Morales provided nine assists.

The 2009 MLS Cup champions may be without striker Robbie Findley due to a left adductor strain and midfielder Cole Grossman due to a concussion. Following his recovery from knee surgery, Morales will be eyeing a full 90 minutes this Saturday after coming in a second-half substitute in the past two matches against Seattle Sounders FC and Colorado Rapids.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Saturday’s match will be the sixth all time meeting between the ‘Caps and RSL in MLS. Whitecaps FC hold a 2W-2L-1D overall record and a 2W-0L-0D record at home against the Utah side.

WATCH: Last time 'Caps hosted RSL

The last MLS match between the two Western Conference clubs ended in a scoreless draw in Whitecaps FC’s final regular season match of 2012. The ‘Caps had a record of 1W-1L-1D against RSL in 2012, while holding a 1W-1L-0D record against the Utah side in 2011.

There are several player connections between the two sides. Current 'Caps winger Paulo Jr. came to Vancouver after playing the past three seasons with Real Salt Lake. Current RSL midfielder Khari Stephenson was teammates with ‘Caps goalkeeper Joe Cannon in 2010 with San Jose Earthquakes, while RSL striker Robbie Findley and Whitecaps FC defender Jay DeMerit were teammates on the United States 2010 FIFA World Cup team.

Whitecaps FC rookies Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado and Real Salt Lake rookies John Stertzer and Devon Sandoval were all selected in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. Manneh and Hurtado were selected 4th and 5th overall respectively, while Stertzer and Sandoval were selected 12th and 29th respectively.

NEXT UP

Following Saturday's match, the ‘Caps head to the Lone Star State for the second time this season as they face FC Dallas next Saturday, April 20. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PT.