Real Salt Lake were never close to competing for even a point against LAFC in their first visit to the Banc of California Stadium, dropping 2-0 to the MLS newcomers.
It was a continuation of a particularly bad road trend, with RSL losing their 10th road game of the season.
Perhaps worse for Real Salt Lake is that Nick Rimando left the match with a hamstring injury at halftime, leaving the team playing their fourth-string goalkeeper.
It was nearly an early heartbreaker for Real Salt Lake in the 9th minute, with Christian Ramirez looking to have scored following a slightly offside run from Carlos Vela, but a late call kept the game level. Justen Glad will find himself particularly pleased with the call, after he tackled at Vela
Ramirez only needed three more minutes to put LAFC up 1-0, with Vela feeding the newly signed forward. The finish was excellent, but it was RSL’s absolutely awful midfield play that lost the ball at the edge of the final third. It took away all of the good work RSL had done in the first 10 minutes, but it wasn’t altogether unexpected.
The 29th minute saw what we all were expecting: LAFC went up 2-0 on another Christian Ramirez goal with a simple finish, with Justen Glad, Nick Besler and Aaron Herrera getting beat with surprising ease.
Albert Rusnak nearly pulled one back in the 21st minute, but LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller made a very nice save to push the ball out for a corner that RSL wasted.
Following halftime, RSL made a surprising substitution: Nick Rimando came out for Andrew Putna, who made his MLS debut. Rimando looked to have sustained some sort of injury early in the first half, with the commentary crew — Brian Dunseth and Jonathan Yardley — reporting that it was a left hamstring injury for the veteran goalkeeper.
Shawn Barry, who hadn’t played for RSL since March, was substituted in the 56th minute for Joao Plata, which returned RSL to their normal shape and style.
Sebastian Saucedo proved the only truly dangerous player for RSL as the second half wore on, with multiple shots saved by LAFC’s Miller.
Andrew Putna had a nice save of his own, stopping what looked a near-certain goal from Carlos Vela after it looked like it had gone through his legs, then making another nice stop from another Vela shot.
RSL started with a rare change from the 4-3-3 the club’s played, starting with a three-center-back setup, with Brooks Lennon and Aaron Herrera in wing back roles.
That saw Brooks Lennon in his most attacking role in some time, as he looked to get forward in the attack, with Shawn Barry dropping behind him. Following the opening goal, RSL went back to their regular 4-3-3 look, with Shawn Barry playing right back and Brooks Lennon playing in a wing role.
- 12’ LAFC 1-0 RSL Christian Ramirez
- 29’ LAFC 2-0 RSL Christian Ramirez
- 24’ RSL yellow card, Sunny
- 33’ LAFC yellow card, Eduard Atuesta
- 37’ RSL yellow card, Brooks Lennon
- 42’ RSL yellow card, Shawn Barry
- 84’ RSL yellow card, Justen Glad
Real Salt Lake
Rimando (45’ Putna)
Lennon, Barry (56’ Plata), Besler, Glad, Herrera
Beckerman, Sunny (71’ Ruiz)
Bench: Putna, Henley, Acosta, Kreilach, Ruiz, Plata, Savarino
Beitashour, Danilo Silva, Ciman, Harvey
Atuesta, Ramirez (77’ Blessing), Rossi