Sandy, UT – Both Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Real Salt Lake are heading to the playoffs, and while Vancouver already knows its fate, there is still plenty at stake for RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.
The Whitecaps will have an eye on their first-round matchup at the Los Angeles Galaxy on Thursday and will be expected to rest some key players, but Salt Lake will be playing for playoff positioning.
A 0-0 draw against Costa Rican side Herediano on Tuesday knocked RSL out of the CONCACAF Champions League, and now head coach Jason Kreis will try to pull his team back together as they gear up for the postseason.
Salt Lake enters the match level on 56 points with Seattle, but the Sounders hold the tiebreaker based on goals scored, meaning that RSL needs a win and a Seattle loss or draw to clinch the second seed.
Along with playoff positioning, finishing ahead of Seattle would also help Salt Lake qualify for the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League.
Tuesday's 0-0 draw left many in the Salt Lake team frustrated as Herediano sat back and defended, something that the club hopes will change upon its return to league play.
"I don't think anybody is not together. I think we're all together in this," said midfielder Will Johnson. "Nobody was frustrated at each other, just frustrated at the situation. You know, that's CONCACAF. That's the ugly side of CONCACAF. It always has been and as long as it continues like this, it always will be. So I think the guys are together and looking forward to getting back to MLS play and some real football."
Salt Lake has been in good form in the league recently, winning three games and drawing one in its last four, and goalkeeper Nick Rimando doesn't believe that there will be any carryover from Tuesday's match as the team prepares for the postseason.
"We just concentrate on our game and have no worries about how we're going to play," Rimando said. "If we let this get the best of us and feel bad about this game, it's not going to be good going into the playoffs, but I doubt we're going to do that."
Vancouver could also use a positive result ahead of the playoffs on Thursday as the club has lost six of its past nine matches.