Real Salt Lake returns to league play after their 2-0 Open Cup loss to SKC on Wednesday, here’s what you need to know ahead of the match:
1. Real Salt Lake’s active 3 game win-streak in league play has hopped them into 3rd place in the western conference with a record of 7-6-1 and 22 points. Saturday’s match in L.A. will be their 5th of 5 in 15 days before heading into a 2-week World Cup break. RSL’s last league match was against the Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 2nd, where they took all 3 points thanks to goals from Corey Baird and Luis Silva. The week between league matches gave most of RSL’s starters a much-needed rest, as Monarch’s players and reserves made up of most of Wednesday’s Open Cup lineup against Sporting.
2. Albert Rusnak is back in Salt Lake after spending some time with the Slovakian national team last week. Rusnak has led RSL’s attack since joining the team, but his absence against Houston and Seattle didn’t slow down the Claret & Cobalt as they extended they home win-streak to 6, scoring 4 goals and conceding just 1 last week in league play. Corey Baird’s goal against Seattle was his 4th of the season, making him RSL’s top scorer and adding to his 1 assist. Albert Rusnak has 3 goals and 3 assists, Joao Plata has 3 goals and 1 assist, Luis Silva has 3 goals, Damir Kreilach has 2 goals and 4 assists, Jefferson Savarino has 2 goals and 2 assists, and Sebastian Saucedo has 1 goal and 3 assists.
3. Joao Plata started against Seattle on June 2nd but an injury late in the first half saw him subbed just before the break for Sebastian “Bofo” Saucedo. Here’s RSL’s injury lineup:
QUESTIONABLE: Joao Plata (abdominal strain 6/2/18)
OUT: Tony Beltran (knee 10/17), Jordan Allen (knee 6/17), Shawn Barry (knee 3/10/18), Demar Phillips (ankle 4/7/18), Alex Horwath (achilles 4/18/18), and Luke Mulholland (back 4/3/18).
4. Real Salt Lake is 13-14-9 against L.A. Galaxy all-time and 7-10-2 at L.A. Last year’s visits to StubHub Center saw Plata, Rusnak, Beckerman, Movsisyan, and Savarino (who had 2) get on the scoresheet in a big Fourth of July 6-2 win, and a dramatic 1-1 draw on September 30th where Marcelo Silva saw red in the 14th minute and Beckerman scored the equalizer in the 90th +5 to keep RSL’s playoff hopes alive. Although RSL has a pretty good record at L.A., their road struggles this season will be a major talking point for this match. Real has yet to score more than one goal in a road match this season and has been held scoreless on the road twice so far. RSL got their first road win of 2018 just 2 weeks ago at Seattle, a place where they’ve historically struggled, boosting their road record to 1-5-1. A win in L.A. on Saturday would give them 2 consecutive road wins.
RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando says they need to stay focused no matter who is on the field for L.A.:
5. The L.A. Galaxy sit in 8th place in the west with a record of 5-7-2 and 15 points, with 4 of their losses coming at home where they are 3-4-0 in league play. L.A. has been outscored 14 to 11 at home this season and lost 4 of their last 5 at home. The Galaxy stole the spotlight back from their new rival LAFC when they announced the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and beat the league newcomers in an exciting 4-3 match at StubHub Center on March 31st. Zlatan subbed into the match in the 71st minute to a standing ovation and immediately made an impact, playing a part in a goal just 2 minutes later and scoring 2 stunners to complete the Galaxy’s comeback. Now, over two months later, Zlatan leads L.A. with 5 goals and 3 assists, 2 of those goals coming on May 30th in their 3-2 loss to FC Dallas at StubHub. Ola Kamara also has 5 goals, Emmanuel Boateng has 1 goal and 5 assists, and Giovanni dos Santos, Chris Pontius, and Romain Alessandrini have 2 goals and 1 assist each.
L.A. will be without the dos Santos brothers, Giovanni and Jonathon, while they are with the Mexico national team for the World Cup.
Our coverage of Real Salt Lake at L.A. Galaxy begins on Saturday, June 9th at 7:30 PM with pre-game, kick-off is at 8:30 PM with Spencer Warne and Jay Nolly.
Stay up to date with RSL interviews and news at espn700sports.com/rsl.
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