Real Salt Lake-Whitecaps FC Preview

Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis decided to give his team a

break following its fourth consecutive road loss.

The Vancouver Whitecaps should be even more well-rested.

Salt Lake seeks its first road win since mid-June and a second

victory over Vancouver in roughly two weeks when the clubs meet

Saturday night.

Kreis’ squad failed to jump into first place in the Western

Conference when it fell 1-0 at Colorado last Saturday, and he

decided a few days off would be best.

RSL (13-8-3) has lost four straight away from home since beating

Chivas USA on June 16, getting outscored 9-0 in a stretch that

includes three MLS defeats and a loss to Costa Rican club Herediano

in the CONCACAF Champions League.

“I think it’s necessary, any chance we can, with the number of

times that we have so many games stacked together that we have to

consider ways to get players breaks,” Kreis told the team’s

official website. “Sometimes it’s going to be giving them a couple

of days to rest physically from training sessions and mentally to

get away from the game.”

Salt Lake, which hasn’t lost four straight MLS road matches

since March 28-May 9, 2009, is two points behind first-place San

Jose in the West heading into Saturday’s action.

“We’re still in a really good position,” captain Kyle Beckerman

said. “There are a lot of teams in worse shape than us, so we

should be all smiles. We’re out here working hard, that’s what got

us the wins and that’s what’s going to keep us from losing, so we

just have to keep our heads up, put our chests out and get ready

for the next game.”

RSL’s last victory was a 2-1 win over Vancouver on July 27, when

Alvaro Saborio scored in each half.

The Whitecaps (9-7-7) have had plenty of time to prepare for the

rematch having been idle since. Darren Mattocks scored in that

match for Vancouver, which is 1-3-2 in its last six and sitting in

fourth place in the West.

“There’s still time for us to make sure we’re in the right

spot,” defender Jay DeMerit said of the club’s playoff hopes.

“That’s the ultimate goal for us as a team. If we keep doing what

we’re doing, we’ll get there. But, again, it comes down to us in

making sure it happens.”

If it gets there, it’ll likely be on the strength of its play at

home. Though the Whitecaps have lost three straight on the road,

they’re 5-0-3 in their last eight in Vancouver.

“The fans are so crucial to the success of the club,” coach

Martin Rennie said. “The atmosphere is always amazing at BC

Place.”

The Whitecaps, though, will be without goalkeeper Joe Cannon,

who received a red card and was suspended one game for handling the

ball outside the box against Salt Lake.

Brad Knighton will get his first career MLS start in Cannon’s

place for Vancouver, which beat RSL 3-0 on Oct. 6 on the strength

of two goals from Camilo in the series’ lone matchup in Canada.