Whitecaps FC-Real Salt Lake Preview

The Associated Press

Real Salt Lake fans could see the core of their team together at home for one final time during this unbeaten start to the season.

They may see a historic moment for Nick Rimando this weekend.

The goalkeeper can tie the MLS all-time record for shutouts Saturday night at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Real Salt Lake (3-0-4) is the lone unbeaten team left although it is behind two teams in the Western Conference.

The club goes on the road for two games after this match, with its next contest at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 17 against Colorado. Rimando and midfielder Kyle Beckerman will likely be training with the United States World Cup team by that point while forward Alvaro Saborio will be with Costa Rica.

Rimando earned his 111th clean sheet in last Saturday's 1-0 win over Portland. His next one will tie the league record set by Kevin Hartman.

"It never ceases to amaze me," defender Tony Beltran told Real Salt Lake's official website. "But I should be used to it by now. This is my seventh year playing with him, and nothing is different from the first save until now."

Rimando figures to have an excellent chance at the record against Vancouver (2-2-3), which has a 189-minute scoreless drought on the road.

Real Salt Lake looks to improve to 4-0-1 all-time at home versus the Whitecaps, and Rimando has two shutouts versus the Whitecaps in six starts.

RSL has yielded one goal in going 2-0-1 at home while Vancouver has scored once in a loss and two draws on the road.

"They've been together for a while and (with) altitude, on the road, unbeaten, so a very difficult game for us but another good test," Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said.

Vancouver has gone 386 minutes without scoring from open play against Salt Lake, with Camilo's penalty kick its only goal in that stretch April 13, 2013.

This matchup features designated players for each club named Morales.

RSL's Javier Morales needs no introduction to MLS fans. The two-time All-Star enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2013 with eight goals and 10 assists.

Fellow midfielder Pedro Morales of Vancouver is in his first MLS season. The Chilean has quickly made an impact with one goal and two assists although he has been held without any in his last three games.

Salt Lake's Morales is embracing the pressure of being unbeaten.

"I like it. I like to be undefeated," he said. "I hope that we can keep that record for a long time, but it's just game by game."

Vancouver feels progress is being made despite going 0-2-1 this month. The Whitecaps completed a two-game set against Los Angeles with last Saturday's 2-2 home draw behind goals from Darren Mattocks and substitute Kekuta Manneh.

"The character shown by the boys has been fantastic," Robinson said. "I know we've only picked up one point (this month) at the moment but it's about getting the mentality right within the club."

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