Real Salt Lake To Host LAFC In Western Conference Showdown

Jul 2, 2021, 1:56 PM
Damir Kreilach - Real Salt Lake - LAFC...
Real Salt Lake midfielder Damir Kreilach (8) celebrates a goal as Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles FC play an MLS game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake will look to finally capitalize on home-field advantage this weekend when they host LAFC.

Mounting Pressure

The pressure is mounting on RSL and manager Freddy Juarez to secure three points at home following the dismal 1-1 draw against Houston Dynamo a week ago. Against the Dynamo, RSL dominated in all facets of the game, however, conceded the equalizing goal early in the second half much to the dismay of the RSL faithful in attendance.

The lack of concentration against the Dynamo was not the first instance this season in which RSL has struggled to close out games. In fact, one could argue that the poor second halves has become a trend.

The fixture against LAFC is another opportunity for the club to put the disappointment behind them.

RSL welcomes an LAFC team that has not produced at the level that it has over previous years. The injury to captain Carlos Vela earlier in the season derailed that attacking ability of The Black and Gold.

However, Vela has recovered and is available for selection.

Baird Returns To The RioT

Former RSL player Corey Baird will return to Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time since being traded during the offseason. Due to Vela’s recent availability, Baird’s place in the starting XI is now unknown. Although, Baird saw a lot of minutes while Vela was out injured and produced for his new club as he is tied for most goals scored with Diego Rossi. In nine appearances, Baird has scored three goals and added two assists.

Both managers throughout the week have been very complimentary of the opposing team. LAFC’s Bob Bradley admitted that Rio Tinto Stadium is one of the most difficult away venues to play while also noting that the news of a potential full capacity crowd will add to the difficulty of securing a result. Freddy Juarez, on the other hand, made sure to not let the Western Conference standings fool him.

“It is a very good team,” Juarez stated. “It is going to be interesting, but it is going to be a very good game.”

Both teams are on the outside of the playoffs currently. RSL holds a one-point advantage over LAFC in the standings, but that can quickly change within 90 minutes on Saturday evening.

RSL is healthy entering the fixture. No major health scares for Juarez to worry about. It will be a fully fit RSL team at home in front of a packed house for LAFC to handle if they hope to climb the Western Conference standings.

Match Info

RSL and LAFC will kick off at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 3rd.

The fixture will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports & KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.

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Real Salt Lake To Host LAFC In Western Conference Showdown