Three storylines for Saturday's match against RSL
VANCOUVER, BC – After a home-and-home series with LA Galaxy, things won’t get much easier for Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday when they visit Real Salt Lake – the only remaining unbeaten team in Major League Soccer.
Here are three storylines to get you set for the match.
With their goals last weekend, Manneh and Mattocks are now tied for second on the team with two goals apiece. Mattocks, who has a team-high three assists, has set up both of Manneh’s goals this season. In both cases, Mattocks drew the attention of the defence and laid off a short pass to Manneh, who took care of the rest.
Manneh and Mattocks are two very different players, but their speed and attacking threat continues to cause problems for opposing defences. And that will need to continue on Saturday against an always-stingy Real Salt Lake side.
Seven weeks into the 2014 MSL season, RSL are the only team remaining unbeaten team in the league. They’ve only allowed six goals in seven matches and goalkeeper Nick Rimando has been a big part of that.
The 34-year-old goalkeeper has already won the MLS Player of the Week and MLS Save of the Week twice this season, having posted three clean sheets in his five appearances. With his 111 career clean sheets, Rimando is now just one back of all-time MLS leader Kevin Hartman.
The last two weeks, the ‘Caps prevented Landon Donovan from scoring his record-breaking goal. Can they avoid being on the wrong end of history a third time on Saturday?
Though they won’t necessarily be matched up against one another, Saturday’s contest will feature two of the top holding midfielders in MLS in Matias Laba and Kyle Beckerman.
It could also feature a battle between two South American number 10s who happen to share the same last name, though Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson told reporters on Thursday that Pedro Morales (back) will be a game-time decision.
But another interesting matchup to watch is the one between Robinson and RSL head coach Jeff Cassar – two rookie managers who took the reins after serving as an assistant coach with their respective clubs.
Both Cassar and Robinson are also former MLS players, so their understanding of the league is as good as anyone’s. RSL is a team known for its use of the diamond midfield, while Robinson has used a few different formations this year, including a diamond and traditional 4-4-2, as well as a 4-2-3-1.
There are several different matchups to watch on Saturday, but the tactical battle might be the most intriguing of them all.
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.