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RSL vs. LA Galaxy preview: A July 4th rivalry showdown

Two teams with plenty of history — turned into a fierce playoff rivalry — face off at the StubHub Center on the fourth of July.

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

After a disheartening loss to Orlando City over the weekend, Real Salt Lake travels to Los Angeles to take on the Galaxy in a July 4th extravaganza at the StubHub Center.

Where they stand

RSL (5-12-2, 17 points), continuing their struggles and currently holding the worst goal differential in the league (-21), fell to last place in the west over the weekend as Colorado rolled to a 3-1 win over Houston to jump up to ninth. The Galaxy (6-7-4, 22 points) aren’t without their struggles either, as they sit in sixth place, only five points ahead of Salt Lake.

While RSL may have one of the worst road records in the league (1-8-1), there’s a bit of good news as LA holds the worst home record in MLS this season (1-4-3). If there was ever a time for RSL to pull off an upset win, this is it, especially as they’re close to full strength again.

Match history

These two sides have a long and storied history, meeting 34 times in regular season play — LA holding a slight edge with a record of 14-12-8. However, RSL has outscored the California side 54-53 overall.

They’ve also met each other five separate times in the playoffs, with LA knocking RSL out three times — the most recent in 2016 when the Galaxy defeated the visitors 3-1 in the single-game knockout round.

The last time they met, RSL played host and ultimately lost by a score of 2-1, after they blew a 1-0 lead that was earned by Yura Movsisyan in the 18th minute. Dave Romney bagged the equalizer in the 69th minute, and “The RSL Killer” Emmanuel Boateng sealed the home side’s fate as he scored the game-winner in the 74th minute.

Key players

Both teams have had to deal with an ever-changing lineup this season due to injuries and call-ups, which have produced some pretty surprising results on both sides.

The Galaxy are still missing a slew of players at the moment, including Sebastian Lletget who has been out with a foot injury for some time. Other notable absences include Baggio Husidic, Gyasi Zardes, Jelle Van Damme, and Jermaine Jones, who is listed as questionable with a knee injury.

That being said, we’ll still likely see a star-studded Galaxy lineup that includes the likes of Ashley Cole and Romain Alessandrini, both of which who missed LA’s last game against San Jose with minor leg injuries, but are likely to see time on the pitch after getting some rest over the weekend.

This match should see the return of Albert Rusnak, as Mike Petke opted not to start him against Orlando and let him get some more rest after his Slovakian U-21 stint. Mike Petke once again has some difficult decisions to make, as he’ll have to find a place for both Jefferson Savarino and Brooks Lennon — even if it means one of them starts on the bench.

Sunny will be out for this game with a yellow card accumulation suspension, so we’ll likely see the pairing of Kyle Beckerman and Luke Mulholland behind Rusnak. It remains to be seen whether Petke will opt for Movsisyan at the point of the attack, or if he’ll stick with Luis Silva despite coming up empty-handed over his last three starts.

It remains to be seen whether Demar Phillips and Tony Beltran will make their returns this week. Tony has only played seven of the team’s 19 matches this season, while Demar has made nine appearances overall as well. Danny Acosta has done a fantastic job filling in for Phillips at left back in recent weeks, so we’ll likely see him in the lineup if Phillips isn’t quite ready yet.


Leading scorers

RSL: Yura Movsisyan (5), Albert Rusnak (3), Joao Plata (2), Luke Mulholland (2)

LA: Romain Alessandrini (8), Giovani dos Santos (6), Emmanuel Boateng (2), Dave Romney (2), Jack McBean (2)

Absences

RSL
OUT: Chad Barrett (knee), Jordan Allen (knee), Omar Holness (knee), Sunny (yellow card accumulation)
QUESTIONABLE: Tony Beltran (back), Demar Phillips (hamstring)

LA
OUT: Gyasi Zardes (int’l duty), Baggio Husidic (leg), Sebastian Lletget (foot), Robbie Rogers (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: Romain Alessandrini (leg), Ashley Cole (leg), Bradley Diallo (hamstring), Jermaine Jones (MCL), Brian Rowe (groin), Daniel Steres (hamstring)

Match info

When: Tuesday, July 4, 8:30PM MT

Where: StubHub Center — Carson, CA

Weather: 66 degress, clear skies

Broadcast: KMYU, ESPN 700, MLS Live

Referee: Kevin Stott