LAFC vs Real Salt Lake
Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021
7:30 p.m. PT
TV: My13 KCOP, Estrella TV
RADIO: 1110 AM ESPN, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM
After making history in the worst kind of way for the month of August – with LAFC extending a Club record winless streak to eight games – the Black & Gold turned things around in the first match in September with a convincing 4-1 win on Sept. 4 over Sporting KC. It was LAFC’s first victory since July 17, when they defeated Real Salt Lake 2-1.
Now, 56 days later – the two teams are poised to meet again under vastly different circumstances, but separated only by three points in the Western Conference standings as they both chase a playoff berth.
RSL has 30 points and sits in 7th place in the West, while LAFC owns 27 points and is in the 9th spot and looking to win two games in a row for the first time since a three game winning streak in July that featured two victories of Salt Lake.
While LAFC has regained some confidence after the 4-1 drubbing of SKC that featured the first two MLS goals from defender Mamadou Fall as well as scores by Cristian Arango and Eduard Atuesta, Salt Lake downed FC Dallas in their last match and both squads are looking to keep the momentum rolling.
REAL SALT LAKE IN-DEPTH
The last time RSL came to town on July 17, Freddy Juarez was the head coach. A shake-up on the sidelines has left Juarez as an assistant coach in Seattle, and Pablo Mastroeni the head man for RSL.
Mastroeni will continue to blend RSL’s mix of youth and experience and lean on the dangerous attacking core of Albert Rusnak and Damir Kreilach, and a strong backline led by Justin Glad.
Injuries and players returning from international call-ups will test the depth of both teams in this match-up. Last week vs. Kansas City, LAFC only had 16 players on the game day roster, and this week they will continue to be shorthanded. Kim Moon Hwan returned to training on Wednesday after spending time with the Korean National Team and is expected to be available, but Brian Rodriguez (Uruguay), Diego Palacios (Ecuador) and Jose Cifuentes (Ecuador) will probably return to Los Angeles just the day before the game and might not see action. This will leave LAFC head coach Bob Bradley forced to once again deploy a different look – Cal Jennings, Bryce Duke and Sebastian Ibeagha made their first LAFC starts of 2021 vs. KC – and hope that players such as Francisco Ginella and Cristian Arango continue to step up.
Real Salt Lake is expected to miss Andrew Brody and Bobby Wood due to injury, and Aaron Herrera will not make the trip due to a yellow card accumulation suspension. RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa, who made some mammoth stops in the previous two matches between the teams, should be back on the field to face LAFC after missing multiple games since July due to a leg injury.
LAFC WILL WIN IF
They can keep play in the middle of the pitch – which is where they find their most success. Mamadou Fall proved dangerous vs. SKC with two headed goals off of set pieces, and if LAFC can remain dangerous in that aspect of the game – they will be difficult to beat. The Black & Gold need players such as Ibeagha, Duke, Jennings, and Danny Musovski to step up.
REAL SALT LAKE CAN WIN IF
They finish their chances better than they did in the previous matches vs. LAFC. While depleted, 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 Boyz N The Hood (1991).