Real Salt Lake Looks To Establish ‘Fortress’ Mentality Against Vancouver
SANDY, Utah – After gaining a valuable point on the road against the Houston Dynamo, Real Salt Lake will return home for the first time this season.
Under Mike Petke, RSL has won 20 times out of a possible 35 home contests.
According to goalkeeper Nick Rimando, the goal is to make Rio Tinto Stadim impenetrable.
“We are trying to make this place a fortress,” Rimando said when asked about what it is like to play in front of the home fans.
The “fortress” at the RioT needs to prove a difficult task for opposing teams throughout 2019 for RSL to have success. It all starts March 9 against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Whitecaps are coming off a very poor 3-2 loss at home against Minnesota United.
Lately, the meetings between the Whitecaps and RSL have been very close with Vancouver winning three of the last five. However, all those wins have been in Vancouver.
- July 13, 2016 in Vancouver: Whitecaps 2, RSL 0
- April 8, 2017 at Rio Tinto Stadium: RSL 3, Whitecaps 0
- September 9, 2017 in Vancouver: Whitecaps 3 , RSL 2
- Apr 7, 2018 at Rio Tinto Stadium: RSL 2, Whitecaps 1
- Apr 27, 2018 in Vancouver: Whitecaps 2, RSL 1
New Look Whitecaps
It will be a new look Vancouver team that takes the pitch at Rio Tinto stadium this Saturday. Star striker Kei Kamara left the squad to join the Columbus Crew during the offseason.
To replace Kamara, the Whitecaps signed Joaquin Ardaiz, a young and powerful Uruguayan who has played first division leagues in countries such as Italy, Belgium and Uruguay.
Ardaiz started on the bench during their opening week match up and entered the game as a substitute, ending the match with 19 minutes under his name. Throughout his time on the field, Ardaiz showed his ability to run into space and create attacking opportunities for the Whitecaps.
Expect Ardaiz to play significant minutes against RSL on Saturday.
Vancouver plays a 4-3-3 formation, similar to how RSL lines up, priding themselves on their attacking style of football.
Doneil Henry is the team’s enforcer across the back four. Prior to joining the Whitecaps, Henry spent time in England playing for Premier League team West Ham United. The Canadian International will be make things difficult for RSL’s strikers in trying to get behind the Whitecaps’ defense.
Designated player and South Korean international, Inbeom Hwang, is the man in charge of the midfield for the Whitecaps. Hwang joined the club in January of 2019 and notched his first MLS start last week in the 3-2 loss to Minnesota.
Hwang is a force in the midfield and helps the Whitecaps control the pace of the game. He has a very attacking mindset and looks to push forward every opportunity he gets.
Ardaiz is the most dangerous striker available for Vancouver but he’ll have the support of Lass Bangoura and Yordy Reyna.
Prediction: RSL 2 – 0 VAN
RSL hasplayed very well against the Whitecaps at home, and with how well RSL played on the road against Houston it would be foolish to think the Whitecaps are capable of picking up three points in Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.
The experience and skill of Real Salt Lake should be too much for the Whitecaps to handle.
The likes of Rimando, Onuoha, Silva, Luiz, Beckerman, Rusnak and Kreilach will prove too valuable and the Claret and Cobalt will notch their first victory in their first home game of the 2019 season.
The RSL vs. Vancouver game to be streamed for free on KSLSports.com as well as the KSL TV app.