Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis decided to give his team a break following its fourth consecutive road loss.
The Vancouver Whitecaps should be even more well-rested.
Salt Lake seeks its first road win since mid-June and a second victory over Vancouver in roughly two weeks when the clubs meet Saturday night.
Kreis’ squad failed to jump into first place in the Western Conference when it fell 1-0 at Colorado last Saturday, and he decided a few days off would be best.
RSL (13-8-3) has lost four straight away from home since beating Chivas USA on June 16, getting outscored 9-0 in a stretch that includes three MLS defeats and a loss to Costa Rican club Herediano in the CONCACAF Champions League.
“I think it’s necessary, any chance we can, with the number of times that we have so many games stacked together that we have to consider ways to get players breaks,” Kreis told the team’s official website. “Sometimes it’s going to be giving them a couple of days to rest physically from training sessions and mentally to get away from the game.”
Salt Lake, which hasn’t lost four straight MLS road matches since March 28-May 9, 2009, is two points behind first-place San Jose in the West heading into Saturday’s action.
“We’re still in a really good position,” captain Kyle Beckerman said. “There are a lot of teams in worse shape than us, so we should be all smiles. We’re out here working hard, that’s what got us the wins and that’s what’s going to keep us from losing, so we just have to keep our heads up, put our chests out and get ready for the next game.”
RSL’s last victory was a 2-1 win over Vancouver on July 27, when Alvaro Saborio scored in each half.
The Whitecaps (9-7-7) have had plenty of time to prepare for the rematch having been idle since. Darren Mattocks scored in that match for Vancouver, which is 1-3-2 in its last six and sitting in fourth place in the West.
“There’s still time for us to make sure we’re in the right spot,” defender Jay DeMerit said of the club’s playoff hopes. “That’s the ultimate goal for us as a team. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll get there. But, again, it comes down to us in making sure it happens.”
If it gets there, it’ll likely be on the strength of its play at home. Though the Whitecaps have lost three straight on the road, they’re 5-0-3 in their last eight in Vancouver.
“The fans are so crucial to the success of the club,” coach Martin Rennie said. “The atmosphere is always amazing at BC Place.”
The Whitecaps, though, will be without goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who received a red card and was suspended one game for handling the ball outside the box against Salt Lake.