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What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy

Real Salt Lake host the Galaxy with major points on the line for two teams fighting to stay above the playoff line

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Los Angeles Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

First off, Real Salt Lake just defeated the Rapids 6-0. No matter what happens this season, that sweetness is going to last a long time. This means even if they fall to the LA Galaxy, the Galaxy can’t jump them in the standings as the two teams would be even on points, but RSL would break the tie with more wins. If Seattle beat SKC and RSL lose, they’d jump RSL in the standings (even on points and wins, but RSL would have the worse GD). It’s the time in the season where every point has a playoff implication. RSL is in a decent spot right now, but we’ve seen that all snatched away late in the season before.

Don’t Sleep on Jefferson

Jefferson Savarino. The name is like music to the ears (who doesn’t love a soft J?). Jefferson notched two goals and an assist in Saturday’s win. The 21-year-old leads RSL with 8 assists this season, and he’s also contributed 5 goals. Both his assist and goal numbers have jumped up in July and August, and while that might be a bit later than desired, he could be coming into full form just in time for a playoff run. Can the young attacker carry over the success he had against a 9 man Rapids against the Galaxy?

The Ibra Question

RSL’s goals allowed isn’t quite as bad as I’d expected, they’re in 14th overall for goals allowed. But they’re still the only team in the top ten with a negative goal difference. Having Marcelo Silva out hurts, and we’re lucky to have not felt that on Saturday. One of RSL’s main strengths this season in our youth. That comes at a cost, and if Zlata plays, it will be fascinating to see how they deal with a world class striker.

Another lingering question is Herrera getting the start over Acosta. I don’t have any conclusions or even strong hypothesis on that front, but Petke is making that choice for a reason. Last Saturday doesn’t really count as normal defending, so it’s hard to draw meaningful conclusions from that match. This game will tell us more.

The Baird

Corey flipping Baird. The young Stanford man has six goals this season. He edges past Luis Silva by a single goal, but has four assists to Silva’s zero. These two players bring a very different presence to the field. Silva plays deeper, calmer, and perhaps more controlled. Baird, on the other hand, seems to be endless energy. His sheer force of will, combined with his athleticism, makes him a nightmare for defenders. While RSL might be in need of a new center forward, we’re lucky to have these two players that makes our season a competitive one. Look to see who gets the nod in this match and how their style affects the whole team’s play.

Injury Report

OUT:

Beltran (knee 10/15/17)

Allen (knee 6/16/17)

Horwath (achilles 4/18)

Mulholland (back 5/2)

Lopez-Espin (knee 6/13)

Horst (achilles 6/26)

Sparrow (knee 7/2)

QUESTIONABLE:

M. Silva (ankle 8/14)

Predicted Line Up

Rimando

Lennon, Glad, Besler, Acosta

Beckerman, Kreilach

Savarino, Rusnak, Plata

Baird