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What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs. LAFC

Expansion side LAFC travel to Rio Tinto Stadium in RSL’s home opener

MLS: Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake’s first home match is again newcomers Los Angeles Football Club. LAFC beat reigning western conference champions Seattle Sounders in a 1-0 win last weekend. RSL tied in Dallas after an 86th minute own goal, and was very much a tie that felt like a loss. Head coach Mike Petke has stated that one aim of the season is to make Rio Tinto a stadium once again, and the home side will be looking to do just that this Saturday.

Damir Kreilach

The Croatian midfielder impressed against Dallas. Not many expected him to get the start having just arrived in Utah, but the 28 year old showed that he is a skilled and experienced player. He was good on both sides of the ball and helped create a number of opportunities for RSL. I’m hopeful he starts against LAFC and if so, keep an eye on him because he’s likely to prove that he is RSL’s best signing this offseason.

Backline injuries and competition

Waibel and co. have done a fantastic job of setting up this roster to insulate from injury or, say, a player than no longer wants to contribute to the team. Right now, we’re a little thin in the right back position. With Beltran out for most of the season, Henley was brought in to be the main starter in the role. He was injured last week and is listed as questionable this week. He did participate in full training this week, so it stands to reason Henley could get the start. I’m excited to see what he can do, having spent his career between the Premier League and the Championship.

We could see Barry slot into right back again, but Maddie Lee reported that Marcelo Silva , center back, left training on Friday on a stretcher. There has been no word from the club on his status, but it’s likely either Barry or Horst partner with Justen Glad at center back. Aaron Herrera is also listed as questionable on the injury list with a groin issue.

There’s still competition the left back spot. Phillips got the start last week over Acosta. In the Dallas game, Danny did come on fro Demar in the 77th minute but didn’t exactly cover himself in glory. He was involved in the giveaway that led to the own goal. The goal is in no way solely Danny’s fault, but he shoulda/coulda done better.

Attacking Subs

We have a few very talented attackers that are on the bench right now. Petke will probably start with the same attacking four we saw last week, so the question is who subs on. Last week the substitutions were much more defensively minded as a 1-0 win in Dallas was what we were playing for. This week we’ll want to get a win at home. LAFC aren’t particularly solid in defense, despite a good result in Seattle. We could see guys like Bofo, Lennon, and Ortuño come on late in the game, but it will depend on how the game is going. Let’s hope for a Kreilach hat trick in the first half so all three of those players can get a run out.

Predicted line up

Rimando

Henley - Barry - Glad – Phillips

Beckerman - Kreilach

Savarino -Rusnak - Plata

L. Silva