Just over a week into their preparations for their inaugural season in Major League Soccer, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are set for their first taste of preseason action, as they face 2009 MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. PT.
Both MLS clubs have been training at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Arizona, with Whitecaps FC having arrived at the resort on Friday after starting their preseason campaign at Empire Field last week.
Teitur Thordarson's side will play the training match versus the Utah outfit in three 45-minute halves. This will give both clubs the opportunity to play all of their players in camp and further assess their qualities.
In the past few days, Thordarson has focused on the tactics and shape of his squad, with Tuesday's game being the first chance this year to test things against MLS opposition. "I'm very much looking forward to the game tomorrow," he told whitecapsfc.com. "We are playing a very good team in Real Salt Lake, so we will have to do our things well in order to get a result. We will start the game tomorrow with the players that are in the best form at present, but we will make sure all of our players earn some action."
Goalkeeper Joe Cannon, centre backs Jay DeMerit and Ryan O'Leary and midfielder John Thorrington are injury doubts ahead of the friendly contest. Mouloud Akloul, Bedri Gashi, Alexandre Morfaw, Ridge Mobulu, and Michael Nanchoff are not with the team in Arizona.
Salt Lake, meanwhile, have been training at Grande Sports World for close to a week-and-a-half, as they prepare for an early start to their season. In late February, Jason Kreis' side take on MLS rivals Columbus Crew in a two-leg quarterfinal series in the CONCACAF Champions League. Tuesday's match will be RSL's last piece of action in Arizona before they head home to Utah to continue with their preparations.
Both Whitecaps FC and Real Salt Lake met last year at Grande Sports World. On February 20, 2010, two first-half goals by Marlon James gave the 'Caps a 2-1 friendly win over RSL.