After taking a few days off to recharge following a grueling week of travel and competition, Real Salt Lake heads across the northern border to take on Vancouver Whitecaps this evening.
Kickoff between Salt Lake and Vancouver is set for 5 p.m. at BC Place, and will be televised on KTVX.
Following a three-match, eight-day leg that began with the Whitecaps on July 27, and included a long-distance flight to Costa Rica for a CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage match, RSL boss Jason Kreis elected to give his players a few days off to rest and recharge as they prepare for the final stretch run of season.
“You just do what you can,” Kreis said following last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Colorado. “You talk to the players. You can see that a few guys needed a rest. We’ve just got to be mindful of that as we go through the last part of the season. We’ve had some experience before where we’ve worn our guys out so to speak and then we get to the playoffs and we don’t have enough energy to do what it takes.”
Salt Lake has 10 matches remaining in Major League Soccer action and three more CONCACAF group stage matches on the docket during the final 11 weeks of the regular season.
Real enters tonight at 13-8-3 overall, but has dropped three straight road contests dating back to a 3-0 result at Chivas on June 16.
Counting RSL’s 1-0 loss at Herediano on July 31, the team has been shut out in four straight road contests, and been outscored 9-0 during that stretch.
Vancouver enters this evening’s match well rested, as it hasn’t played since that 2-1 loss at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The Whitecaps will be missing normal starting goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who was sent off against Salt Lake in the final quarter-hour for handling the ball outside the box to deny a goal-scoring opportunity.
RSL will also be missing a key piece as defender Jamison Olave remains out of action with a hamstring strain suffered against Herediano. Kwame Watson-Siriboe has been the designated replacement, a trend which should continue today.