Real Salt Lake Welcomes Star Studded LAFC To Rio Tinto Stadium

Aug 5, 2022, 3:37 PM
Gareth Bale - Welcomed - To - LAFC...
Gareth Bale of LAFC waves to fans before a game against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first half at Banc of California Stadium on July 08, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake will welcome the Support Shield leaders LAFC to Rio Tinto Stadium this weekend in the biggest game to date for the 2022 season.

LAFC currently sits atop the Western Conference and boasts the most points in the league through the opening 22 games. They hold a four-point advantage on second-placed Austin in the Western Conference.

Real Salt Lake, on the other hand, has slipped down the conference over the last two months and currently finds itself in the 5th position on 35 points. RSL is just one point shy of FC Dallas and one point clear of Nashville in a tightly contested western conference race for a playoff position.

LAFC’s Prolific Attack

The dominance shown by LAFC this season is largely due to its prolific attacking power. They have scored the most goals in the league (44) and possess a lot of strike power that includes the likes of Carlos Vela, Gareth Bale, Cristian Aranga, and José Cifuentes.

“Well they picked up from where they left last season, they are a very hard-working team, a team that is dangerous on the counter and if you give them time and space they will also break you down,” LAFC manager Steve Cherundolo told the media ahead of this weekends clash.

Furthermore, LAFC also recently added beloved Italian center back Giorgio Chiellini to its backline.

Incoming Real Salt Lake Players

Real Salt Lake has also acquired players during the secondary transfer window which concluded at 10 p.m. on Thursday, August 4. LAFC forward Danny Musovski, Nottingham Forest midfielder Braian Ojeda, and Costa Rican international Bryan Oviedo were announced this week.

However, Musovski is currently dealing with a hamstring injury and will be unavailable for selection for multiple weeks while the arrivals of Ojeda and Oviedo are pending visas. Real Salt Lake manager Pablo Mastroeni told KSL Sports that the immigration process for international players is generally a minimum of two weeks.

The upcoming fixture at Rio Tinto Stadium will likely act as the match of the week in Major League Soccer. For as dominant as LAFC has been this year, Real Salt Lake has been wonderful at home. Throughout the opening 11 games of the season at Rio Tinto Stadium, Real Salt Lake has only lost on one occasion. The last time RSL played at home, they endured an agonizing 1-0 defeat to FC Dallas.

RSL Key To The Match Versus LAFC

For Real Salt Lake, the key to the fixture will be maintaining clean possession. The attacking players of LAFC do not like to defend, rather, when opposing teams have the ball, LAFC forwards is frequently seen around midfield on either sideline. If Real Salt Lake turns the ball over in the midfield and the fullbacks are high up the pitch, LAFC will cause havoc.

But conversely, if Real Salt Lake can take care of the football and not turn it over in central parts of the pitch, it will likely be a fascinating chess match between two very capable clubs.

“As much as we want to dictate the game with the ball, it is really important that we make good decisions, not in haste,” Mastroeni told KSL Sports following his team’s final training session on Friday at Rio Tinto Stadium. “Poor decisions higher up the field now brings those three guys, who are walking back, into the play.”

Kickoff Time & Broadcast Information

Real Salt Lake will host LAFC on Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 8 p.m. on August 6.

Gareth Bale will play for the first time in his professional career in Utah after recently joining LAFC.

The match will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV app or on KSL Sports dot com.

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