Whitecaps FC-Real Salt Lake Preview
Vancouver Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos has conceded he may have made the wrong call in not handing Fredy Montero more minutes this season.
Montero, who missed the MLS is Back Tournament for personal reasons, had played just 55 minutes in 2020 prior to Wednesday's clash with fellow Canadian side Montreal Impact.
Yet the 33-year-old delivered a match-winning performance from the start, with his double helping to secure a 3-1 victory for the Whitecaps.
Ahead of facing Real Salt Lake, Dos Santos acknowledged Montero could have been utilised more.
"When we went to MLS is Back, he didn't go and then, when we got back, we felt he wasn't ready for the first trip," Dos Santos said. "Maybe we were wrong. Maybe he physically had enough and we didn't see that, maybe we were wrong.
"Then, every time in training, I was seeing things in Fredy that he wants to contribute, he wants to help, he wants to show, he wants to change things. He came in and had a fantastic game, he even deserved the hat-trick. He impacted the game with the ball, he impacted the game in possession, he impacted the game. He has to be proud of that and it's 'well done' for him."
Montero would now appear a likely candidate to start against RSL, who were hammered 5-0 by Colorado Rapids in their previous outing.
"We're all bothered by it. All of us lost sleep over it," RSL coach Freddy Juarez told ESPN 700 of that defeat. "But the reality is no one died. It's a game where we lost.
"If you win a game like against LAFC, you can't act like you're on top of the world. If you lose a game, you can't act like you've dug yourself in a grave. You've got to keep a steady mentality."
Real Salt Lake – Damir Kreilach
Midfielder Kreilach has been RSL's most reliable goal threat by some distance in 2020, scoring six times in 12 appearances, and will hope to celebrate his new contract – signed on Friday – by netting again.
Vancouver Whitecaps – Fredy Montero
Having received the backing of his coach, Montero will surely be eager to carry on the form he showed against Montreal. His double on Wednesday was the first time he had scored an MLS brace in over three years.
- RSL won both meetings with Vancouver last season by 1-0 scorelines and could win three straight MLS matches against the Whitecaps for the first time.
- However, RSL suffered the heaviest home defeat in their history last Saturday when they were thrashed 5-0 by rivals Colorado.
- Vancouver have lost their past three away MLS matches, conceding six and scoring none in return.
- Thirteen of the 16 goals RSL have scored this season have been scored in the second half.
Updated September 18, 2020