The Vancouver Whitecaps FC visit Real Salt Lake in the MLS regular-season finale Saturday with both teams hoping for a playoff boost.
RSL is still hoping to clinch home-field advantage in the upcoming Western Conference Semifinals with a win and a Seattle draw or loss, while Vancouver is trying to shake its road slump before facing the Los Angeles Galaxy in a single-game elimination to advance to the semifinals against top-seeded San Jose.
“We just have to carry on as business as usual,” Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit told 24 hours Vancouver. “Right now all of us know there’s still lots of things to work on and that comes with training. There’s no better way to prepare for the playoffs than a game against a good team in Real Salt Lake.”
Vancouver is 3-10-3 on the road this season and, after facing RSL, will have four days to prepare for the Galaxy. Depending on how the seeding shakes out, RSL will have seven or eight days to prepare for its home-and-home series against Seattle Sounders FC.
“How we do and how we play against Salt Lake will obviously be a factor as to who plays against L.A.,” Vancouver coach Martin Rennie said.
Vancouver, which clinched a playoff spot despite a 1-0 loss to Portland last week, has been in flux all season — constantly switching its starting 11.
Rennie told the Vancouver Sun he has no problem with the negative reactions surrounding his constant roster changes.
“At the end of the day, I like the fact there's a lot of interest in our team and that there's a lot of media coverage. There are opinions I would agree with and others I disagree with. I don't really follow (the second-guessing) that closely,” he said.
Rennie will have plenty of options should he decide on any last-minute roster changes as the Whitecaps have no substantial injuries going into Saturday's game, while Salt Lake defenders defenders Jamison Olave (quad) and Kwame Watson-Siriboe (leg) are listed as doubtful.
Ryan Carreon is a web editor for the Deseret News. E-mail him at email@example.com