Storylines to Watch: RSL vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Goals, goals, goals

Vancouver Whitecaps FC leads the league with nine goals this season while Real Salt Lake has five goals in two home matches.  With those offensive credentials, it could shape up to be a back-and-forth match at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.

With a pair of prolific scorers like Alvaro Saborio and Octavio Rivero aboard, it could get explosive in a hurry, too.  Saborio is among the league’s leading goal-scorers since he entered the league in 2010 with 61 goals in 117 matches.  Only Chris Wondolowski has scored more MLS regular season goals in that time.  Meanwhile, Rivero leads MLS with five goals in his first seven matches this season. 

Whiteout the Whitecaps

In six prior meetings at Rio Tinto Stadium, Real Salt Lake has yet to taste defeat against Vancouver.  With a 3-0-3 record and a 9-4 scoring edge, RSL has controlled the home legs in the series since the Whitecaps came to MLS in 2011.

That’s not to say that they’ve been easy results though.  Last year, RSL scored two goals in the first 10 minutes of their April tilt at Rio Tinto Stadium, but allowed two goals after the 85th minute to equalize.  The other meeting in Sandy last year needed an 81st minute goal from Joao Plata to equalize for RSL to earn a draw.

Here at the RioT

Not only is RSL unbeaten at home against Vancouver, but the club is currently riding a 12-match home unbeaten streak (9-0-3) dating back to last June.  In that stretch, RSL has a 28-11 scoring advantage.

With sellout crowds now becoming the norm, RSL is drawing from its raucous fanbase and this year, the club has seen an average attendance of 20,537 thus far this season.  Not bad for a stadium whose official capacity is 20,200.

99 and counting

Nick Rimando has seen many milestones fall in his distinguished MLS career and he is on the brink of surpassing another.  The veteran goalkeeper has a league record 118 career shutouts.  His next appearance will be his 375th in his career, behind only Steve Ralston (378) and Kevin Hartman (418).  His 165 career wins also ranks second to Hartman’s 180.

With Real Salt Lake, he has amassed 99 career wins, putting him one away from the century mark.  He would be the third goalkeeper in MLS history to win 100 matches with one club, behind only Hartman (116 with the LA Galaxy) and Zac Thornton (109 with the Chicago Fire).