Real Salt Lake made it to the post-season and will face LAFC in California on Thursday for a knockout round matchup on Thursday night, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. Real Salt Lake finished the regular season in 6th place in the west with a record of 14-13-7 and 49 points, and are considered the underdog in this match against 3rd place LAFC. LA finished their inaugural regular season at 16-9-9 and 57 points, a record for an expansion team’s first year in MLS. LAFC lost their final match of the season at Sporting Kansas City 2-1, dropping them from first place to third at the end of Decision Day. Carlos Vela finished the regular season with 14 goals and 13 assists for LAFC, Diego Rossi with 12 goals and 9 assists, and Adama Diomande with 12 goals and 4 assists.
RSL hasn’t played since they closed out their regular season with a 3-0 road loss to Portland on October 21st, a match RSL needed to win to secure their playoff position early. Because of the loss, RSL had to wait for Decision Day results and the 3-2 comeback win for Houston against LA Galaxy secured the 6th spot for the Claret & Cobalt. Damir Kreilach, RSL’s 2018 MVP, finished the regular season with 12 goals and 8 assists, Albert Rusnak with 10 goals and 7 assists, Joao Plata with 8 goals and 8 assists, MLS Rookie of the Year Finalist Corey Baird with 8 goals and 5 assists, and Jefferson Savarino with 7 goals and 11 assists.
2. LAFC has home field advantage as well as the season sweep against RSL, after a 1-5 win in March and a 2-0 win in August. RSL has been outscored on the road 31-15, averaging .8 goals for and 1.8 goals against in those 17 matches. But RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman believes LAFC has yet to see their best. Beckerman feels this season has been reminiscent of their 2009 MLS Cup playoff run, where they were the last team in and had to beat a #1 and #2 seed to make it to the Cup final, and eventually take home the MLS Cup.
LA has a home record of 9-1-7 at home, while RSL has a road record of 3-11-3.
Our Playoff Knockout Round coverage of Real Salt Lake at LAFC begins on Thursday, November 1 at 8 PM with Tom Hackett and Spencer Warne, kick-off at 8:30 PM with Bill Riley and Jay Nolly.