Three storylines to watch when Whitecaps FC visit Real Salt Lake Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium

Buckle up for a Morales vs. Morales showdown

SANDY, UTAH – Vancouver Whitecaps FC visit Real Salt Lake on Saturday in an important Western Conference matchup at Rio Tinto Stadium.  

KICKOFF: 7 p.m. PT TSN: TSN RADIO: TEAM 1410 MOBILE: bell.ca/mobiletv ONLINE: TSN GO

Here are three storylines to watch.

MORALES VS. MORALES

In the build-up to Vancouver’s last meeting against Real Salt Lake, a 2-2 draw on April 26, whitecapsfc.com looked at the similarities between Whitecaps FC’s Pedro Morales and Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales. They go far beyond the name on the back of their jerseys.

Pedro Morales didn’t end up playing in that match, but a Morales vs. Morales showdown could be in the cards this weekend. If it happens, we’ll be in for a treat.

Javier Morales leads MLS with 62 chances created – 12 more than the player behind him. Pedro Morales, meanwhile, is fourth in the league with 47 chances created. He’s also tied for second in the league with eight assists, including one in each of his last three games.

These are two of the best playmaking midfielders in MLS. Which one will make a bigger impact on Saturday?

BREAKING DOWN THE DIAMOND

Real Salt Lake is known for its use of the diamond midfield formation, with Morales at the top and U.S. national team midfielder Kyle Beckerman at the bottom.

The ‘Caps, meanwhile, have predominantly used a 4-2-3-1 formation this season. However, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made the switch to a diamond midfield on Wednesday to “break down” Toronto FC. And for the most part, it worked.

Will Robinson go back to the diamond midfield on Saturday? Or will he return to a 4-2-3-1, which the ‘Caps used in their last meeting with Real Salt Lake?

It will be an interesting tactical battle either way.

WILD WILD WEST

It seems a little early to be scoreboard watching, as we’re only just past the midway point of the 2014 season. But the Western Conference standings are already getting crowded, so it’s hard not to.

As it stands, just two points separate second-place Real Salt Lake and sixth-place Whitecaps FC – to put that in perspective, there are nine points that separate the second and sixth-place teams in the Eastern Conference. That means the ‘Caps could jump up to as high as second place win a win this weekend.

There’s still a long way to go, but picking up points in the ultra-competitive Western Conference at this stage of the season is going to make life much easier when October rolls around.

It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets, 5-packs, student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. 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.