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

Real are on the road in LA to take an a very strong Galaxy

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake are in Southern California to take on the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy are looking very strong in 2019. They’re second in the west on 19 points, with just one tie and one loss, both coming away from home. This will be a tough game for Real, but LA are coming off a frustrating 0-0 in Minnesota. Will the momentum from RSL’s last two wins been enough for them to get a result?

The backline

Zlatan will be a huge test for RSL’s backline. The good news is they haven’t conceded a goal from open play since Seattle. The bad news is Nick Rimando is out with a knee injury and won’t feature in this game. Andrew Putna preformed well against Cincinnati, keeping the clean sheet. Granted, he only had to make one save, but he still got the job done. When you’re playing against an attacker like Ibra, will there be a drop-off in communication between the keeper and the backline?

The experiment of Toia, Glad, Onuoha, and Herrera has worked well. The last two times we’ve seen those four on the backline, the only goal allowed was a beauty of a free kick from Nani, and RSL still got the win. They’re coming off a 3-0 win away from home, can they do it again? With Silva and Holt both injured, if Justen or Nedum go down with injury, we’re likely to see Besler. We need are defenders to stay healthy, because there’s no real defenders to call upon.

Grit

This game will be one of the tougher matches RSL has played this season. This might be a very frustrating game for the team. We saw a level of grit against Orlando, when OCSC were attacking in waves towards the end of the match and Real were fighting to maintain their win, which they did and did well. When you go up away from home, it takes a level of determination to fight on, but Cinci were never really that competitive. I want to see how the team responds if they concede a goal first. Against LAFC and Seattle, we saw the team fight on. The only real blowout we’ve had this season was against DC United (granted, the 4-2 loss at home to Dallas wasn’t ideal). We seem to be witnessing a tougher and more determined team than we’ve seen since the Kreis days. If the team’s mindset is really shifting, then Mike Petke deserves a lot of credit for that success. Look for the fight from RSL during this game. Even if they lose, do they battle until the final whistle?

More Sam

Center forward Sam Johnson is finding his rhythm. The Liberian international had a goal in each of the last two games. If he’s feeling confident, he has the skills to finish. In Real’s 3-0 win last weekend, Johnson’s only shot resulted in a goal. It will be key to get the ball to Sam more if the attack is going to be successful. Watch to see how often he gets service from the rest of the team and what he does with the ball.

Injury Report

OUT:

Allen (knee 6/16/17; Season

Ending)

Holt (ankle; 3/30/19)

Luiz (knee; 4/13/19)

Rimando (knee; 4/15/19)

QUESTIONABLE:

Mulholland (back; 4/2/19)

Silva (hamstring; 4/6/19)

Predicted Lineup