Real Salt Lake will host LAFC on Saturday night in their second of three consecutive home matches, all against Western Conference opponents, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. Real Salt Lake defeated Western Conference opponents Seattle Sounders 3-0 on Wednesday night. Sam Johnson and Nedum Onuoha got back into the starting eleven for the first time since suffering injuries against Sporting Kansas City at the end of June. Corey Baird, Albert Rusnak, and Johnson all got on the scoresheet while Nick Rimando didn’t have to deal with a single shot on goal thanks to a strong defensive performance.
Rusnak leads the team with nine goals and four assists, Johnson has nine goals, Jefferson Savarino has six goals and five assists, Damir Kreilach has four goals and five assists, and Baird has four goals and three assists (three goals and one assist in his last two matches). The win against Seattle had the potential to catapult RSL from 6th place to 2nd but wins for Minnesota United and LA Galaxy put Real in 4th, the highest they’ve been on the table this season, with a record of 12-9-4.
2. RSL is on a three-match win streak as well as undefeated in their last seven home matches (6-0-1) and last six matches overall (4-0-2). Real Salt Lake has yet to beat LAFC in league-play at 0-3-0 overall. LAFC’s only league-match at Rio Tinto Stadium resulted in a 1-5 win for the visitors on RSL’s 2018 home-opener. Earlier this season RSL fell 2-1 at LAFC, Walker Zimmerman got the winner for the home side in stoppage time when his shot deflected off Erik Holt.
Tony Beltran (knee) and Nick Besler (foot) have been ruled out for Saturday’s match.
3. LAFC is coming off a 4-2 home win against New York Red Bulls, which brings them just one win away from clinching a playoff berth. Two of LA’s goals against NYRB were headers off set-piece deliveries from Carlos Vela. Vela leads the league with twenty-three goals and fifteen assists, Diego Rossi has thirteen goals and five assists, and Eduard Atuesta has two goals and ten assists. LAFC leads the Supporters’ Shield race with a record of 17-3-4. All three of LAFC’s losses have come on the road as well as three of their four draws.