Sandy • When Real Salt Lake kicks off Saturday afternoon in Vancouver, it will be the fifth road game in the first seven weeks of the season for RSL. And when Salt Lake returns for a welcome home stretch after that meeting with the Whitecaps, it hopes to bring back something it hasn’t from recent road trips: points.
“We’ve played some road games here for a while without any points,” RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy said Friday. “I think you start to realize you’ve got to pick up some points, get some results on the road.”
After notching a road win over the San Jose Earthquakes to start the season, RSL has lost games at Washington, D.C., Dallas and Colorado. And in each of those defeats, Real failed to score a goal.
“Can we get better at playing on the road? I think it’s a little bit mental,” Grabavoy said. “But I’d like to see us try to play a little more, be cleaner on the ball, create some more chances and try to pick up an early goal.”
Still, RSL coach Jason Kreis said he’s been pleased with his team’s ability to create scoring chances in the team’s three road losses.
“We had clear-cut scoring chances in all those games,” he said this week. “Really decisive moments where if we’re just better on the final touch, we’re probably feeling a lot different about ourselves right now.”
RSL gave up a goal in the fifth minute last weekend against Colorado and saw an Alvaro Saborio penalty kick saved just five minutes later.
“One thing that has to get better is our focus and intensity over the first 15 minutes of the match,” Kreis said, “because Vancouver is a very high-intensity team at home.”
The Whitecaps will have plenty of motivation against RSL. Vancouver has spent the last three weeks on the road, earning just a single point.
“It seems like every away match we’re playing there is some overwhelming reason our opponent is going to be very, very hungry,” Kreis said. “I imagine they’re going to be really, really hungry and excited to be back home.”
Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales, who has played in RSL’s last two matches, said the turf in Vancouver could keep him off the field this weekend as he continues to work back from a knee injury. RSL will be without midfielder Sebastian Velasquez, who broke a bone in his right hand in training this week.
Forwards Alvaro Saborio, Robbie Findley and Joao Plata are all listed as questionable.
Real Salt Lake at Whitecaps
O At BC Place (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Kickoff • Saturday, 2 p.m.
TV • Ch. 4
Records • RSL 2-3-1, 7 points; Vancouver 2-2-1, 7 points
Last meeting • 0-0 (Oct. 27)
About RSL • It never recovered after giving up a fifth-minute goal last week at Colorado, eventually dropping its third straight on the road. ... Alvaro Saborio’s three goals lead RSL. But his 10th-minute PK miss against the Rapids was his first in 13 tries with RSL. ... RSL went 1-1-1 against the Whitecaps last year, but has never won in Canada.
About the Whitecaps • The team is coming off a 1-1 draw at San Jose. ... Saturday’s match will be the first home game for Vancouver after three straight weeks on the road. ... Leading scorer Kenny Miller (two goals) is listed as questionable and did not play last week against the Earthquakes.