RSL: Three things to watch vs Vancouver in Week 27

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 28: Goalkeeper David Ousted
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 28: Goalkeeper David Ousted /

Following the international break for World Cup Qualifying, Real Salt Lake heads on the road to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps in Week 27.

Major League Soccer returns to action after taking a break for World Cup Qualifying with a tasty Western Conference showdown. Both the Vancouver Whitecaps and Real Salt Lake will look to get ahead in the race for the MLS Playoffs at the other’s expense. The last time these two teams met was in Mike Petke’s memorable, snow-filled, debut back in March. Now the teams meet in Canada, where Rhas as typically struggled. Here are three things to watch for the Claret and Cobalt.

The Attack

It goes without saying that RSL’s recent form has correlated with the improved attacking play since July. Coming off the international break, RSL will need to shake off the rust and keep that momentum alive if they have any chance at making the postseason. Luis Silva will be the player to watch. Silva has scored in the last four RSL games simply by putting away chances, which the three-headed monster in the midfield has been creating plenty of.

Vancouver has one of the more stout defenses in the league, so putting away chances will be vital for Real. Albert Rusnák and Joao Plata had their way with the Whitecaps last March and will be called on again in this one.

The Backline

Real Salt Lake has also made great strides on defense in their strong run. Coming off a 4-1 victory against the Rapids and a 4-0 win against the Earthquakes, the defense will try to keep Freddy Montero and the Vancouver attack at bay.

Health will be the biggest factor in this one. Summer Window pickup, Marcelo Silva, should be back to pair with Justen Glad, and Demar Phillips could make it back to the field but is still questionable. Danny Acosta will miss this one with a red-card suspension from his meaty challenge on Marlon Hairston. With Acosta suspended, Chris Wingert could be tasked with trying to stay in front of Costa Rican Christian Bolaños if Phillips isn’t able to go.

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The Playoff Race

For RSL to make the postseason, they are going to need some help. Week 27 offers a few Western Conference vs Eastern Conference matchups. RSL can only help themselves if they keep winning, but keep an eye on Toronto FC vs San Jose, NYCFC vs Portland, SCK vs the Crew, and Atlanta vs FC Dallas. RSL needs all of their Western Conference foes to drop points, and losing to Eastern Conference teams can help Real stay in contention.