Sandy, UT – Real Salt Lake will close out a three-match homestand on Saturday against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and head coach Jason Kreis will be looking for his team to offer up a strong response.
Salt Lake began its season with five away games in its first seven before coming home for its current stretch of home games.
But after a 1-0 win against Chivas USA two weeks ago, RSL put forth a disappointing performance against the Los Angeles Galaxy, losing 2-0 last weekend to a Galaxy side without key players like Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
"It wasn't just Donovan and Keane, there were five players that started tonight with the Galaxy that aren't typically in their strongest eleven," Kreis said. "So much so that when I got their lineup I was nervous to even write it up on the board. I was wondering if there was any way I could just sneak it in that they were playing LA's strongest lineup. I feel that our guys have had a tendency over the past to let down when they are playing a team that they think is weaker than they are; and tonight they got shown that team isn't weaker than we are. Their eleven was better than our eleven."
Kreis will be hoping for a much better showing against the Whitecaps, but he will be missing some offensive punch with the absence of leading scorer Alvaro Saborio, who is expected to miss "several weeks" because of a quad injury.
Both Robbie Findley and Olmes Garcia are capable of filling in for Saborio, but both also missed some time in training this week with injury issues of their own, although Kreis expects them to be fit for Saturday's game.
The Whitecaps bring a six-game winless streak into the match, but the club should be encouraged by its 2-2 draw last weekend against FC Dallas after scoring two goals in the second half to rally for a point.
Much of the club's success in the second half was due to the play of 18-year- old Kekuta Manneh, who was the fourth overall pick in this year's SuperDraft.
Manneh tallied his first MLS goal in the 72nd minute and then set up the equalizing goal for Camilo three minutes later.
"He's got the world at his feet, and that's not blowing wind up his backside," said Whitecaps defender Andy O'Brien. "I think he's a very exciting talent and he demonstrated today what he is capable of, he should be very proud about himself tonight."
Manneh will give head coach Martin Rennie another option in attack and he feels he is ready to take on a bigger role.
"I think I came in and made a difference - created some chances," Manneh said. "When I came in, the game changed, so I definitely need some minutes to play."
The two sides will be playing for the second time this season after a 1-1 draw in Vancouver last month as Camilo scored a penalty kick in the 84th minute to equalize for the Whitecaps.