LAFC vs. Real Salt Lake
MLS 2021 Season - Match Eleven
Saturday, July 3, 2021
7:00 p.m. PT
TV: My13 KCOP, Estrella TV
RADIO: 1110 AM ESPN, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM
Still searching for their first road win of the 2021 campaign, LAFC came out of the gates firing on June 26 against Western Conference opponent Sporting Kansas City. Kim Moon-Hwan opened his MLS scoring account to put the Black & Gold ahead in the 24th minute on a beautiful feed from José Cifuentes, but LAFC could not hold on after Tristan Blackmon was sent off with a red card after dragging down SKC’s Daniel Salloi in the 58th minute, leaving the Black & Gold down to 10 men.
SKC ultimately took the match 2-1, but it was a game that could have gone either way, and there were still plenty of positives to take away.
“I think we came here and played well. I think it's a tough place to play,” said LAFC forward Corey Baird. “They've obviously been very good this season, but I think before the red card we have a lot of control in that game. Starting the second half I had a big chance and if that goes in it’s a completely different game.”
LAFC now has two-straight chances to earn that elusive road win, first, against Real Salt Lake on Saturday in a matchup that the Club has historically fared well in. The all-time regular series matchup between LAFC and RSL sits 5 – 1 – 0 in LAFC’s favor and moreover. The last time LAFC took three points on the road was against RSL on October 4, 2020 in a 3-1 win.
That’s not to say that this match will be an easy task for the Black & Gold, with RSL logging a 2-1-3 record this season at home. This will be LAFC forward Corey Baird’s first time back at Rio Tinto Stadium since the former RSL homegrown players was traded to L.A. prior to the 2021 season.
REAL SALT LAKE IN-DEPTH
RSL is a club that will likely sit back on the pitch to absorb LAFC’s pressure. However, they are also a squad that has attacking prowess with Pablo Ruiz running the show through the midfield and dangerous goal scorers in Damir Kreilach and Rubio Rubín giving opposing defenders fits.
FULL MOON RISING
First year LAFC defender Kim Moon-Hwan has not had the easiest transition into MLS life. The beginning of this season saw him continuing to recover from an offseason knee injury, but as the calendar turns toward summer, he has been able to regain his health and is beginning to show fans why LAFC was excited to bring him to Los Angeles.
He saw the pitch for LAFC as a substitute several times before June, but after returning recently from a call-up with the Korean National Team for AFC World Cup qualifiers, he has shown strong form.
Against Kansas City, he made his first MLS start and scored his first goal, and MLS is taking notice.
“Moon, I think has stepped up,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “Excellent goal. I thought in the first half he really contributed in a lot of ways. Found the ball in good spots, mixed up passes, got forward - so that's great to see. Seeing different guys stepping up is really important.”
LAFC WILL WIN IF
Goalkeeper Tomas Romero has a better match than RSL’s David Ochoa. Two young keepers manning their goals and if Tomas gets the better of the two - LAFC can find success.
REAL SALT LAKE CAN WIN IF
They beat LAFC in the wide areas of the pitch. RSL has dangerous personnel on the flanks that look to cross into their opponent’s box, and if they can do well there, the goals could follow.
Inspired by Airport (1975).