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RSL Hosts Blockbuster Encounter With League Leaders LAFC

Carlos Vela #10 of Los Angeles FC dribbles the ball during the second half of a game against the Seattle Sounders at Banc of California Stadium on April 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake are on a roll and have yet to lose in six consecutive MLS games. The club looks to continue its dominance this Saturday against LAFC.

Freddy Juarez has taken this team and turned them into a formidable team that controls the possession and wears opponents out.

Against the Seattle Sounders midweek, RSL dominated 53 percent possession and looked like the far more impressive team. The game ended in a 3-0 win for the Claret and Cobalt.

However, this week’s matchup should be far more competitive. LAFC are the best team in MLS and it is not even close. As it stands, LAFC lead the Western Conference by 14 points, they have also scored 17 more goals than anyone else and conceded 5 goals less than anyone else. They are a spectacular team who have annihilated the majority of teams who are in their way.

If LAFC are to beat RSL this weekend and FC Dallas loses or draws to the Montreal Impact, they will be the first team to clinch a spot in the MLS Playoffs.

The History Between RSL, LAFC

Mar 23, 2019: LAFC 2 – 1 RSL @ Banc Of California Stadium
Nov 1, 2018: LAFC 2 – 3 RSL @ Banc Of California Stadium
Aug 15, 2018: LAFC 2 – 0 RSL @ Banc Of California Stadium
Mar 10, 2018: RSL 1 – 5 LAFC @ Rio Tinto Stadium

History suggests LAFC have the better of RSL, as they have beaten the Claret and Cobalt three of the four encounters. The only win RSL had came last year during the elimination playoff game at Banc Of California Stadium. The two teams have only met once at Rio Tinto Stadium, that game resulted in a 5-1 victory for the visitors.

Get To Know LAFC

Managed by Bob Bradley, who has been coaching since 1981. He has managed 12 teams including the USMNT, Chicago Fire and Swansea City. Bradley operates in a 4-3-3 formation.

Latif Blessing is a crafty midfielder that can cause havoc for opposing teams. He has scored four goals on the season thus far while also contributing with five assists. The native from Ghana stands at only 5’7″ and relies heavily on his speed and touch to weave his way through opposing defenses.

Diego Rossi is another star who plays on the right-wing for LAFC. Rossi has scored 13 goals and assisted 5 through 24 games this year.

Their star player, however, plays on the left-wing – without question, he is the best player in MLS this season. Carlos Vela, the Mexican International leads the team in goals and assists with 23 and 15 respectively.

Those numbers also lead the entire MLS. Despite only being able to play on his left foot, Vela continues to find ways to cut back on his preferred foot and offer creativity in the attacking third. Vela could easily be playing top-flight European football, but due to his love for basketball, he has found his home in Los Angeles and does not seem to be on the move any time soon.

RSL Club Update

Real Salt Lake are, for the most part, healthy. The only player on the injured list is Tony Beltran who has been sidelined for nearly two seasons.

Nedum Onuoha and Sam Johnson both returned from injuries and started midweek against Seattle. Johnson scored the opening goal in the 25th minute while Onuoha played the entire 90 minutes.

Corey Baird made MLS Team Of The Week after his brace against Sporting Kansas City last Saturday. Baird also scored the final goal of the match against Seattle on Wednesday evening. He has now scored four goals on the season. Three of them coming in the last two games.

Damir Kreilach is coming off a two-assist game. Kreilach’s ability to find space and create attacking opportunities is worth the price of admission.

As RSL are unbeaten over the last six MLS games, they now find themselves tied for fourth in the West with the LA Galaxy on 40 points. However, just four points separate the second-placed Minnesota United and the seventh-place FC Dallas.

Broadcast Information

Real Salt Lake takes on LAFC with kick-off At Rio Tinto Stadium scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday. The match can be streamed live on the KSL TV app and KSLSports.com.

LAFC are in first position in the Western Conference and are coming off a 4-2 home win over the New York Red Bulls last Saturday evening.

Reminder

KSLSports.com in collaboration with Real Salt Lake has launched a new podcast, The RSL Lion’s Den. It is the official Real Salt Lake podcast for all your club news and updates. Tom Hackett, Spencer Warne and RSL’s Director of PR, Matt Gaschk break down the games and discuss important club matters.

To listen to The Lion’s Den, click here. It is available on iTunes, Google Play or wherever podcasts are found. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe!

 

RSL Schedule
08/24/2019
Colorado
0
Real Salt Lake
2
08/31/2019
Real Salt Lake
0
Portland
1
09/11/2019
San Jose
0
Real Salt Lake
1
09/15/2019
Real Salt Lake
1
Minnesota
3
09/21/2019 @ 5:30 pm
Real Salt Lake
New England
09/25/2019 @ 7:30 pm
Los Angeles
Real Salt Lake
09/29/2019 @ 5:30 pm
Houston
Real Salt Lake
10/06/2019 @ 2:00 pm
Real Salt Lake
Vancouver
Western Conf. Standings
W-L-T Pts.
Los Angeles FC
19-4-7 64
Seattle
14-9-7 49
Minnesota
14-10-6 48
Real Salt Lake
14-12-4 46
Los Angeles
14-13-3 45
San Jose
13-12-5 44
Portland
13-12-4 43
FC Dallas
12-11-7 43
Sporting Kansas City
10-13-7 37
Colorado
10-15-6 36
Houston
10-16-4 34
Vancouver
7-15-9 30