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After a short break for FIFA’s International Match Calendar, both Real Salt Lake and the Vancouver Whitecaps will be returning to MLS play this Friday.
For RSL, they’ve had somewhat of an inconsistent year so far with two wins, three draws, and one loss.
That said, when you consider that they were initially seen as one of the lower-tier teams for this season, there’s now promise in the project led by manager Freddy Juarez.
As for the Whitecaps, they haven’t exactly been playing exciting soccer.
With two wins, one draw, and four losses — three of which arrived in May — warning signs are now beginning to flash for the Canadian club.
|Despite the break, it’s tough to say that Vancouver will get the job done here.Pick RSL for the win.|
|Real Salt Lake vs Vancouver Whitecaps Information|
|Teams||Real Salt Lake vs Vancouver Whitecaps|
|Location||Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)|
|Time||Friday, June 18th at 10:00 pm ET|
|How to Watch||ESPN+|
With the international break now in the past for MLS clubs, what did we learn about RSL and the Whitecaps before the pause in play?
For the Whitecaps, their dull start to the 2021 season probably isn’t much of a shock for media and fans.
There were worries about their roster and counter-attacking approach, and although they’ve salvaged a couple of wins, Vancouver should feel lucky that they haven’t allowed more than nine goals.
RSL, on the other hand, seem to be exceeding some expectations.
Arguably on the same level of the Whitecaps before the season started, RSL have only lost one of their first six matches.
Most importantly, they’ve also looked clinical in front of the net thanks to a new signing.
There was some intrigue when RSL signed Rubio Rubin earlier this year, but it would be a stretch to say that it made headlines.
In a year that included blockbuster additions through Alexandre Pato, Cecilio Dominguez, Brenner, Tomas Pochettino, and several others, Rubin’s inclusion didn’t make as big of a splash.
And yet, by the end of the season, he might be the one with more of an impact.
Since his MLS debut in April, Rubin has amassed four goals and two assists in just six games for RSL.
The striker has been nothing short of incredible, and odds are, he’ll be involved in the build-up or scoring of another goal this week.
Speaking of strikers, things haven’t exactly gone to plan for Vancouver’s Lucas Cavallini.
The Canadian hasn’t scored since his first game of the season, and as for assists, he also only has one to his name for 2021.
With the anticipation that he would develop into one of the top forwards in MLS, Cavallini’s short time in the league since 2020 has been somewhat of a disappointment.
And unfortunately for the Whitecaps, outside of Cristian Dájome, they don’t seem to have very many answers for their languishing frontline.
Let’s say that Rubin struggles for RSL this week. His hot streak ends, and with that, so could the hopes of his team claiming a win, right?
According to reports, new signing Bobby Wood could be ready to make his debut for RSL this Friday.
With a career that has taken him across Europe and garnered 45 appearances for the U.S. men’s national team, the 28-year-old will have an immense amount to offer for RSL’s attack this season.
And by Friday, he might even have a chance to take the field.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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