LAFC vs Real Salt Lake
Tuesday, August 8 at 7:30 pm PT
Location: BMO Stadium - Los Angeles, California
Radio: 710 AM ESPN, ESPN LA App, 980 AM La Mera Mera
After a convincing 7-1 drubbing of FC Juarez of Liga MX on Wednesday night, LAFC now faces MLS Western Conference rival Real Salt Lake in the Leagues Cup Round of 16 on August 8 at BMO Stadium.
The seven goals from LAFC set a new Club record and Leagues Cup record for most goals in a game, with Denis Bouanga scoring his third hat trick of the season, and Carlos Vela (two goals), Ryan Hollingshead and Nathan Ordaz finishing out the scoring.
Tuesday’s matchup with RSL is not just a knockout game in Leagues Cup (a new tournament that began July 21 and involves the 47 clubs in Liga MX and Major League Soccer), it is also a reunion. Former LAFC forwards Cristian “Chicho” Arango and Danny Musovski make their return to BMO Stadium for the first time since departing LA in separate transactions over the last 12 months.
Arango, a key piece of the LAFC team that won the 2022 MLS Cup, is the third leading scorer in LAFC history, with 30 goals in 51 MLS regular season matches. Musovski contributed 11 goals in 53 MLS regular season matches with LAFC.
Led by 46-year-old former USMNT player Pablo Mastroeni, RSL made a statement in Leagues Cup on Friday, knocking Club León out of the tournament with a 3-1 comeback win in the Round of 32 that was delayed a day due to inclement weather. Former LAFC forward Arango scored one goal and assisted on one of Musovski’s two goals.
RSL has been on a roll lately. After defeating Seattle Sounders 3-0 in its first Leagues Cup match, the Claret & Cobalt fell to Monterrey 3-0 – RSL’s only defeat over its last 11 games across all competitions. Since the end of May, RSL has won nine times, with three draws and only one loss. Midfielder Pablo Ruiz has been the club’s engine during that stretch, tirelessly creating chances and doing the dirty work from endline to endline.
THE BLACK & GOLD WILL WIN IF
It can continue the momentum it built during last week’s electric performance against FC Juarez. The break served LAFC well as the team seemed healthy and refreshed. LAFC will need to limit the “easy goals” Arango is so good at scoring. As a member of the Black & Gold, the Colombian scored in all kinds of ways, including on rebounds and loose balls in the area. He has continued that trend since joining RSL last month, including an opportunistic finish against Leon when he pounced on a saved corner-kick header and booted it across the goal line. If he scores on Tuesday, LAFC needs to make him earn it.
RSL CAN WIN IF
They can shut down a rejuvenated LAFC attack, and if RSL can summon the energy it showed over the full 90 minutes against León. The tenacious club from Liga MX played the second half of that match as if its challenging game schedule had finally taken a toll (a situation familiar to LAFC supporters this season). Real Salt Lake – particularly Musovski – never let up, capitalizing on the rare moments when León uncharacteristically lost focus.
Salt Lake will need another strong performance from “the Moose,” who has been a different player since Arango’s arrival a month ago.
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