Through 23 matches to start its inaugural season, LAFC's 5-1 victory over Real Salt Lake stands out as the largest margin of victory in the Club's 10 wins so far. But as RSL visits Banc of California Stadium for the first time on Wednesday night, LAFC will be looking to grab three points anyway they can following consecutive losses in MLS play for the first time since early April and a winless streak now at five matches.
And adding to the intrigue, just one point separates these two sides in the Western Conference standings.
Here's a look the midweek match between LAFC and Real Salt Lake:
Where To Watch/Listen
LAFC vs. Real Salt Lake, August 15 at 7 pm PT
TV: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
Radio: ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980
Real Salt Lake broke a three-match winless streak with a 2-1win at home against Chicago on August 4. But followed it up last week, with a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Montreal, despite taking a 1-0 lead via a Joao Plata penalty. On the road, RLS have been a completely different side than at home, where the lead the Western Conference in victories with nine. Mike Petke's side is 1-8-2 away from Rio Tinto Stadium.
What The Team Is Saying
Christian Ramirez On The Mentality He Brings To The Team During A Tough Stretch: "I'm an upbeat guy. I'm always smiling and enjoying myself. That hopefully relieves some of the pressure, some of the stresses of going through a lull throughout the season. It's a long year though, teams always go through these lulls. It's about how you come out of them. Tomorrow night's a good opportunity for us to come out of that."
LAFC Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3): Luis López; Steven Beitashour, Laurent Ciman, Walker Zimmerman, Jordan Harvey; Eduard Atuesta, Benny Feilhaber, Lee Nguyen; Carlos Vela, Christian Ramirez, Diego Rossi.
What To Watch For
Real Salt Lake's Road Form: With just one win in its last 15 road matches, no one appreciates home cooking more than Mike Petke's team. LAFC, on the other hand, are coming off the first home loss in Club history. Just one point separates the two teams in the standings, and with RSL's road woes, LAFC has to like their chances.
News Faces Sticking In The Starting XI: Admittedly, with the recent cross-country travel and congested fixtures, Bob Bradley rotated a large amount of his squad against Sporting KC on Saturday. Luis López, Danilo Silva, and André Horta all started for the first time, while Christian Ramirez made his first appearance after being acquired in a trade with Minnesota United. With many of the regulars expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday, it will be interesting to see the balance between regulars and new faces going forward. We know that Horta is considered a very important player by Bradley, but the midfielder has needed a bit of time to acclimate. López first start was after a very lengthy recovery from injury. Will they continue to get a run in the squad? And what about Silva, who was one of the standout performers at center back, but has to contend with the likes of captain Laurent Ciman and Walker Zimmerman at that position.
Snapping The Winless Streak: The first loss at home stings for LAFC, but a more pressing matter at the moment is the five-match winless streak the team is on. Five matches are the longest LAFC have gone all season without a win, picking up just two points over that period. As a result, many teams in the Western Conference have caught up to the Black & Gold, including those below the playoff line. LAFC are just three points ahead of the first team out (Vancouver Whitecaps) with a game in hand. Three points on Wednesday have become that much more vital.