Real Salt Lake is headed to the west coast to face 2nd place LAFC this Saturday, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. Real is coming off a tough 5-0 loss at D.C. United last weekend. The game was even through about 30 minutes, but a penalty kick to D.C. United and a red card to Jefferson Savarino minutes later shifted the tides and RSL was two goals and one man down at the half. As if turning it around at that point wouldn’t be difficult enough, Marcelo Silva got a second yellow and sent off in the 67th minute after RSL had conceded a third goal. Wayne Rooney earned a hat trick and assist on the night.
2. Headed into this Saturday, RSL will now be without Baird (USA), Rusnak (Slovakia), and Johnson (Liberia) due to international duty as well as Silva and Savarino for their red cards. Baird and Rusnak are the only players to register assists and goals for RSL so far this season. RSL will also be without Glad (toe) while Plata (ankle) remains questionable. With team depth truly being tested this week, it will be interesting to see how young players like Tate Schmitt and Erik Holt possibly fit into this lineup. Fans might get what they’ve been hoping for with an opening on the right wing with Donny Toia available to fill in at right-back for Lennon to push up into the attack.
RSL head coach Mike Petke has faith in his players and says he expects to have tough decisions in coming weeks:
Real Salt Lake is 1-2-0 all-time against LAFC and 1-1-0 at Banc of California Stadium, the lone win coming in the knock-out round of the 2018 playoffs when Damir Kreilach was dubbed the “Kreilach Kid” after scoring two goals to put RSL through to the conference semi-finals. Real lost to LAFC home and away in regular season play in 2018.
3. LAFC dropped points for the first time this season last week at NYCFC, coming from behind to draw 2-2. Carlos Vela remained with LAFC this international window and has 3 goals and 2 assists through three matches while Blessing has 2 assists, Diamonde has 2 goals and 1 assist. LAFC will be without Kaye (Canada), Vassell (Jamaica), Ramirez (USA), and Perez (U-23 USA) this weekend.
Our coverage of Real Salt Lake at LAFC begins on Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 PM with Lauren Beck and Spencer Warne, kick-off at 8:30 with Bill Riley and Jay Nolly on ESPN700.
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