Whitecaps FC-Real Salt Lake Preview
While the Vancouver Whitecaps pulled out an impressive win earlier this week, they haven't tasted victory in league play in nearly two months.
It's been even longer since they earned three points on the road.
Winless in their last 14 road games, the Whitecaps try to snap their overall six-game stretch without a victory when they visit Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.
Slumping Vancouver (2-3-3) gave its fan base plenty to cheer about Wednesday by beating FC Edmonton 2-0 to advance to the Canadian Championship final. The Whitecaps will face Montreal for a chance to move on to the CONCACAF Champions League.
Vancouver, though, will first have to get through a couple of MLS opponents. After this match, the Whitecaps host two-time defending champion Los Angeles next weekend.
Vancouver won its first two games but has been outscored 10-6 in its last six. The Whitecaps appeared to be headed for defeat last Saturday before fighting their way back to salvage a 2-all draw versus MLS-leading FC Dallas.
Substitute Kekuta Manneh scored his first career goal in the 72nd minute and Camilo tied the score three minutes later.
"I'm so proud of the players for how they dug themselves out of a very difficult situation," coach Martin Rennie said. "I know we've got a good team. I know we've got good players. I know that the quality will come.
"We've got young players and sometimes they will miss chances here and there. Sometimes I ask how much heart and how much character does the team have and today no doubt, I got answered that question. We've got a lot of heart and got a lot of character."
Building on that effort could be difficult on the road, where Vancouver has been outscored 22-8 during an 0-11-3 stretch dating to July 7.
The Whitecaps are 2-2-2 versus Real Salt Lake (3-4-2), including an 0-2-1 record at Rio Tinto Stadium. The clubs played to a 1-all draw in Vancouver on April 13.
One week after beating Chivas USA 1-0, RSL dropped to 2-1-1 at home last Saturday with a 2-0 loss to the Galaxy. Nick Rimando, who had allowed one goal or none in each of his first seven games, gave up two in the first 13 minutes.
"I'm searching for an answer myself," coach Jason Kreis told the league's official website. "I think collectively that we have to really build ourselves more up for these games and recognize that in every single match that if we don't put in everything that we have we will get beat.
"When we've had a good performance, we have had a drop off immediately after. That comes from guys just feeling a little too comfortable with what they did, and thinking that they have arrived a little bit."
Averaging just 0.78 goals per game, RSL could have a hard time generating offense with Alvaro Saborio out again. The fourth-year forward, who's scored three of the team's seven goals, remains sidelined with a quad injury.