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Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Real Salt Lake

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada (Friday, May 29, 2015)  – Real Salt Lake wraps up a week on the road with Saturday’s matinee at BC Place in downtown Vancouver against the Whitecaps. Local TV coverage Saturday kicks off at 3:30 p.m. MT on KMYU (2.2 air / 12 satellite / 22+643 Comcast), with the game also carried on ESPN700 (3:00 p.m. MT pre-game) and La Gran D 102.3 FM / 1600 AM.

Real Salt Lake (4-4-5, 17 points, West 7) has split the first two matches in this three-game, eight-day stretch, winning 2-0 at home last Saturday against NYCFC before falling Wednesday night at LA by a 1-0 scoreline, after conceding a 7th-minute penalty kick, the fourth consecutive reg. season match against the Galaxy that GK Nick Rimando has faced a PK (saving two).

RSL lost at home earlier this season to Vancouver (6-5-2, 20 points, West t-2), a 79th-minute Darren Mattocks goal the difference in a match that saw two RSL red cards (Saucedo 76’; Olave 84’) drop Jeff Cassar’s club to nine men for only the third time in the club’s 388-game history.

Saturday’s match is the first game on the new BC Place turf being installed for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with the Claret-and-Cobalt needing a win to exceed the success found in the club’s lone previous three-match week this season, May 1-9, when the team posted a 1-0-2 mark in home draws against SJ and LA prior to a road win over Chicago.  All-time, RSL is 8-20-15 on fake grass, being outscored 36-72; however, the greatest win in club history, MLS Cup 2009, came on an artificial surface.

How to Follow Real Salt Lake at Vancouver Whitecaps FC

•   Coverage Begins: 3:30 p.m. MT

•   TV: KMYU – David James & Brian Dunseth

•   English Radio: ESPN700 AM (3:00 p.m. MT) – Bill Riley, Jeremy Horton & Trey Fitz-Gerald

•   Spanish Radio: 102.3 La Gran D FM / 1600 AM – Nelson Moran & Fernando Hortal

•   Online: The @RealSaltLake Twitter Feed will provide match updates

Game Guide for Saturday’s RSL @ VAN Galaxy Match Now Available Online

Following is the link to the Adobe PDF version of the MLS Game Guide in advance of Wednesday’s contest between Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Click here to download the PDF version of the MLS Game Guide for Saturday’s RSL @ Vancouver matchup

Busy May Winds Down This Week; Open Cup / CCL Paths Determined

Following Saturday’s 2-0 home victory over NYCFC, RSL improved to 2-1-3 at home, as MF John Stertzer scored his first career goal in 19 MLS appearances in the 25th minute and FW Alvaro Saborio added an insurance tally just after halftime as RSL improved to 43-6-13 in games in which the Costa Rican international finds the back of the net.

Saturday night, before a record Rio Tinto Stadium crowd of 20,801, RSL FW Devon Sandoval notched his second game-winning assist in three weeks to go along with his MLS Goal of the Week from May 16 at Montreal.

Starting on Sunday, June 7 – RSL’s next Rio Tinto Stadium match, a nationally-televised game against Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado – the Claret & Cobalt will host six of the club’s next eight MLS regular-season matches at home, through July 24.

Last week, RSL discovered its 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup pathway, as another Rio Tinto Stadium home game will be added to the slate, Jeff Cassar’s team hosting USL side Sounders FC 2 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Tuesday, June 16. Saturday’s match v. NYCFC kicked off a run that sees RSL play eight games in 34 days from May 23-June 27 (seven MLS reg. season matches plus one U.S. Open Cup contest; stretch could extend to 10 games in 44 days with a 4th-round USOC win, as July 1 Open Cup window comes into play).

This Monday, June 1, RSL will participate in the the draw for the 2015/16 Champions League tourney, with two home games and two away scheduled during six possible matchdates in August/September/October.

Schedule Congestion Catalyst for Squad Rotation

As a result of the schedule congestion described above, RSL boss Jeff Cassar has distributed minutes all over the roster in anticipation of quick turnarounds and key absences due to international duty, suspension, injury and fatigue, as 20 different players have earned starts for the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2015’s first 13 games, while 25 players – all but GK Lalo Fernandez, DF Justen Glad and DF Boyd Okwuonu – have logged MLS minutes in 2015.

When MF John Stertzer scored his first career goal in last Saturday’s 2-0 home win over NYCFC, he became the 58th player of the 123 that have worn the RSL crest in MLS play to find the back of the net, while first-year MF Wellington “Pecka” Paeckart – who made his first-ever start Wednesday in LA after his MLS debut back in April – became the 123rd player to appear on club’s behalf.

RSL Road Form a Mixed Bag So Far

RSL’s road form this year has been schizophrenic, posting a 2-3-2 record with a pair of blowout losses – allowing four goals at Montreal May 16 and at NE on April 25, but securing three road shutouts at Portland/Kansas City/San Jose (RSL only had five road clean sheets all of last season).