Preview: LAFC At Real Salt Lake

A lot of firsts in Seattle for LAFC: first goal, first clean sheet, first win, and first three points. But Bob Bradley and his squad insist all that's in the past as the only thing that matters is the match in front of them. LAFC travel to face a new look Real Salt Lake side at the Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.

When & Where To Watch/Listen

Real Salt Lake vs. LAFC, March 10 at 12:30p PST

TV: Univision

Radio: ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980

Opponent Form Guide

RSL settled for a 1-1 draw away to FC Dallas in its opening match. Last season, RSL finished the year with five home wins in a row, outscoring opponents 14-3.

What The Players Are Saying

Steven Beitashour on re-focusing after the team's historic first win: "We enjoyed that moment that night, and the next day we started preparing for Salt Lake. I think we have a good group in here. A good veteran group that understands you can't enjoy or dwell on the past. You got to be able to handle your business and move on to the next week. Because it's a grind. It's 34 weeks with constant emotions going up and down. You can't get too high, you can't get too low. So far it's looked good in training. Guys have been hungry. Bob has had a game plan for us, and guys look like they're ready to go. So hopefully on Saturday we can execute."

Benny Feilhaber on what to expect from RSL: "Salt Lake, I think, is a very good team this year. They struggled last year, but at the end of last year they had some very good performances. And I think they brought that over to this season. I watched that game against Dallas, and I thought they were a very good team. They could have won in Dallas, which is also a very difficult place to play. I expect a very tough team. Their front four are very technical on the ball. They have a lot of veterans in the back, and some young guys that have played a lot of minutes as well. So they have that experience. It's a tough place to play. Rio Tinto is not easy with the fans, with the altitude, so all that stuff will play a part."

LAFC Projected Starting XI

(4-2-3-1) Tyler Miller; Steven Beitashour, Dejan Jakovic, Laurent Ciman, João Moutinho; Mark-Anthony Kaye, Benny Feilhaber; Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela, Latif Blessing; Marco Ureña

What To Watch For

Encore For Tyler Miller?: In one match with LAFC, Tyler Miller equalled his total number of saves (7) over two years with the Seattle Sounders. The goalkeeper was impeccable against his former team last week making it easy to see why LAFC selected him with the first pick in the MLS Expansion Draft. Can Miller produce a repeat performance in back-to-back weeks?

More Shots On Target: Against Seattle, LAFC had just one shot on target, Rossi's one-time finish in the 11th minute. While a 100-percent shooting accuracy sounds nice, it's clearly not sustainable. With the likes of Carlos Vela, Marco Ureña, Latif Blessing, and the aforementioned Rossi on the pitch, look for LAFC to make a concerted effort to generate more attempts on target against RSL.

Playing At Altitude: At an elevation of 4,500 feet, Rio Tinto Stadium is second in altitude to only Colorado's Dick's Sporting Goods Park (5,200 feet) in MLS. At training, Bradley said there's not much any visiting team can do about the altitude other than be prepared to fight through it. Feilhaber told me at training that he "doesn't really feel it" when playing in Salt Lake or Colorado. No doubt, the home side will be better acclimated to the thin air. We'll see how high LAFC's fitness levels are this early in the season.

 

 

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